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How do I check out or check in files in a SharePoint document library?

Published: 8 September 2021 Last updated: 3 February 2022

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Check files in and out

Checking files in and out is not always necessary, it’s a feature best used when you want to prevent others from editing the file whilst you work on it.

You can edit the file either online in Microsoft 365 or offline and save your changes as often as you like before checking the file back in. Once you’re done making changes to the file, check it in from the library to upload your changes. You can discard your changes and undo the check-out if you change your mind.

Note: When you check out a file, nothing happens to it. The file is still stored in the document library. It’s just marked to show that you have exclusive editing rights until you check it back in. To edit it, you must download the document or edit it online. How you edit or update the file depends on the type of file. If it’s a Word document, you can use Word in Microsoft 365 or your desktop copy of Word. For a file that isn’t a Microsoft 365 format, download the file and use whatever editor you normally use for that format – then upload and replace the checked out file.

Check out a file from a document library

You can check out one or more files at a time. 

  1. Right-click the file, select More, and then choose Check Out.

A note is displayed while the file is being checked out. If you click on the icon, you can see the progress of the checkout.

Check in a file to a document library

  1. Right-click the file, select More, and then choose Check In.
  2. In the Check In dialog box, you can enter a comment, such as what you changed or added.
  3. Click Check In when you’re done.

Check to be sure you saved changes on the document before checking in. Since SharePoint in Microsoft 365 leaves the document checked out and nobody else can edit it, discard the check out if you don’t want changes made.

Discard a check-out from a document library

  1. Open the library, and select the file that you want to discard the check out.
  2. Right-click the file, choose More, and then select Discard Check Out.
  3. You’ll get an “are you sure” dialog when you discard a check out. Click Discard Check Out to clear the check out.

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