Microsoft SharePoint 2013:Check documents in and out from a library

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Checking documents in and out from a library

SharePoint 2013 provides users with a variety of features for effective document management. One of these features is the ability to check out and check in documents. This feature is used when you need to edit an existing document in a library and let other users know that you are working with this file. Checking out any document ensures that nobody else will not work with that same document at the same time. Other users will see what documents and to whom are checked out. Checked out file is locked for editing for all users except the one who checked it out and others cannot open it for editing until it will be checked back in. Other users will not see any changes and will not be able to modify the checked out file.

Additionally, you can add comments after document editing so that users could be informed about the changes.

There are two simple ways to check out any document within your library:

The first way

  1. Go to the library where you want to check out the document.
  2. Select this document and click the Check Out button from the Files tab on the ribbon.
    Checking documents in and out from a library -1.png

The second way

  1. In the library where you want to check out a document select the document.
  2. Click on the ellipsis near the file`s name to open the common actions menu.
  3. In the pop-up window click another ellipsis and chose Check Out option.
    Checking documents in and out from a library -2.png


After checking out the document you will see that this file is marked with green arrow in the updated library view. This mark indicates all checked out files.

When you finish editing the document, you need to check it back in. This can be done using the same two ways described above, but now by clicking Check In option instead of Check Out.
Checking documents in and out from a library -4.png

If you do not want to save the changes you have an option to discard document check out. If you chose this option, all your changes in the document will be lost. This option enables you to return document to the previous state and also, in case you have the Full Control permissions assigned to you for this library, you can discard other user`s check outs and recover the document to its previous state.
Checking documents in and out from a library -3.png

It is up to you, whether you want to require all documents in the library to be checked out when editing or not. “Require documents to be checked out before they can be edited” setting is disabled by default. But you can enable it if you navigate to Library Settings – Versioning settings and scroll down to the bottom of the page. (Library Settings page is similar to the List Settings page. Description of the list setting page you can find in the following article: Microsoft SharePoint 2013:Create a list. When you enable this option, any document opened with Microsoft Office will prompt users to Check out this document.

For more information about SharePoint Document Management capabilities take a look at Microsoft SharePoint 2013:Version history