Set up a library to require check-out of files

One way to control document collaboration is to require check-out of files, especially when multiple users have access to the library. If a library checkout is required, other people cannot overwrite it. However, you run the risk of preventing other people from seeing the latest changes or making changes themselves. If others need to work on the document it is important that files are checked back in quickly.

Note:  Don’t configure your library to require checkout if people plan to co-author documents in the library. People cannot work simultaneously on documents when required check-out is turned on.

Require check-out of files for editing

Note:  Only people who have Full Control or Design permissions can set up libraries to require check-out of files.

  1. Go to the library you plan to work in.

  2. Click Settings Settings: update your profile, install software and connect it to the cloud , Library Settings.

    If you don't see these menu items, click Library on the ribbon, and then click

    Library settings in the Settings group.

  3. On the Settings page, under General Settings, click Versioning settings.

  4. In the Require Check Out section, under Require documents to be checked out before they can be edited?, click Yes.

  5. Click OK to save your settings and return to the Library Settings page.

If you do this ...

This is what happens…

Create or add a file to a library

The file is initially checked out to you. You must check it into the library before others can see it and work with it.

Open a file for editing

The file is automatically checked out to you when you click Edit. A message box alerts you that you are about to check out the file and offers you the opportunity to edit it in your local drafts folder.

After check-out, the file icon is covered with a green, downward-pointing arrow, indicating that the file is now checked out. No one else can change the file, and no one else can see your changes, while you have it checked out.

Make changes to the information about the file (the properties)

If the file is not already checked out to you, you must check it out before you can make changes to its properties, such as its title, author name, due date, word count, and so on. Your changes will not take effect until you check the file back in.

Try to open a file that is checked out to someone else

The Check Out and Check In options are unavailable. You cannot check out a file that someone else has checked out. If you attempt to do so, a message will let you know that the file is checked out by someone else.

You can, however, find out who has the file by hovering over the file icon. The name of the person who has checked it out is displayed in a tooltip. Then, you can contact that individual to request check-in of the file if you need it quickly.

Check the file in

You are prompted to enter a comment about the changes you made. If your library tracks versions, your comment becomes part of the version history. If both major and minor versions are tracked, you are prompted to choose which type of version you are checking in. Look in the See Also section of this article to find more information about versioning.

Keep the file checked out for a long time

No one else can see your changes or edit the file while you have it checked out. While this is helpful during the time you are making changes, it may also prevent others from performing their assigned tasks. It is both good business practice and common courtesy to check the file back in as quickly as possible after you check it out. In some circumstances, an administrator may have to force a check-in of the file.

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