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Version Impact on Check In and Check Out in SharePoint

Posted By:Jean Paul       Posted Date: August 22, 2013    Points: 200    Category: SharePoint    URL: http://www.dotnetspark.com  

In this article we can explore the document management features Check In & Check Out with their impact on version. This document could be targeted to an Information Worker as well.

In this article we can explore the document management features Check In & Check Out with their impact on version.  This document could be targeted to an Information Worker as well.

What is Check Out?

The Check Out operation creates a lock on the document preventing changes by other users.  Check Out allows saving multiple time without changing the version.  Other users can still access a Read-Only copy of the document.
The Version is changed as part of the Check In operation.

What is Check In?

The Check In operation releases the lock on the document.  Now other user can save their changes to the document.

Version Impact

Following is the depiction of the impact on a document for Check In / Check Out operation.


To start with we need to create a Document Library named Version Docs.

We need to enable Versioning for this document library.  You can do this through the Library Settings > Versioning Settings link. 

The types of versions available are:

1.  No versioning specifies versioning is not managed for this library
2.  Major versions specifies whole number versions like 1, 2 and 3
3.  Major & Minor Versions specifies versions like 1.0, 2.1 etc.  Here the whole number on the left is called Major version and the Real number on the right is called Minor version.
A pictorial of Major & Minor parts are shown below:

For the time being choose Major versions (second item) and click OK button.  We can see that the version number is changed during the Check In operation.

Note Please use Internet Explorer 32-bit for working with this example.  The recommended MS Office version would be 2010.


Now we can perform uploading a Word Document into the library.  Use the Add document link to upload a document.  Make sure you have the content of the file as Initial Content.

After uploading the document you can view the version number using the context menu item.

Click on the Version History item to view the version associated.

You can see that the version number says as 1.0 for the newly uploaded document.

Check Out

For checking out the document choose the Check Out option from the document context menu.

You should be prompted with the following dialog box:

The dialog box asks whether to:
1.  Check Out and copy the document to local folder (enables offline working)
2.  Check Out and work in the Server copy of document

Click the OK button to continue with check out.  Modify the file by adding some text to it as shown below.


You can click the Save button of MS Word Application to save the changes to your local drafts / server drafts location.  These changes won't be visible to other users reading the same document.

Local Drafts Folder

The local drafts folder is a client side folder where the checked out file is copied.  Local Drafts Folder enables the user to check out the document, disconnect from the network, work offline on the document, connect back to the network, and check in the document.
You can find the Local Drafts Folder in:

OS Drive > Current User > Documents > SharePoint Drafts

For example in my Windows 7 machine the location is shown below. (Depending on the operating system the local drafts folder location changes)

In short the advantages of Local Drafts folder are Speed & Portability.

Check In

Now we can proceed with Check In operation.  Through the check in operation the changes made to the document are saved in the Server.  Any users accessing the document should receive the updated content after the Check In.

For checking in, choose the Check In Operation from the context menu.  A dialog box will be prompted with additional options.  Click the OK button in the appearing dialog box.

After Check In operation the Document Icon should change as:


from the previous icon below

You can verify the Version History after the Check In operation.

The new Version 2.0 is shown there.

Note A new version is created only when the user checks in the document.  Checking out to local drafts folder makes it convenient to work on the file when your computer is away from the network.

Discard Check Out

After a Check Out operation the user can either:

·  Check In the document
·  Discard Check Out
The Discard Check Out operation can be done through the context menu of document item.

Possible Errors

You may encounter the following error while working with Check Out / Check In operations.

Error: The file XXX is checked out or locked for editing by YYY

In my real world experience I have seen this error occurs with many customers. 


The solution which worked here is to use the Manage files which have no checked in version option from the Library Settings.

In the appearing page you can select the file and click the Take ownership of Selection option.




In this article we have explored the Version Impact on Check In, Check Out operations and viewing the Version History associated.
To summarize with, following are the points we learned:
1.  Versioning of Document
2.  Check Out operation
3.  Check In operation
4.  Local Drafts folder
5.  Possible Errors & Solutions

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Further Readings:


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