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SharePoint Online with Forced Checkout and Synced Folders

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Walter Pelowski
Occasional Contributor

SharePoint Online with Forced Checkout and Synced Folders

I have enabled a setting in our SharePoint Online instance that forces the checkout of files in our Document Library.ForceCheckout.png

 

 

 

I want this setting to remain as-is for a multitude of reasons.  (I believe it has solved some other issues we had in the past with collaboration and documentation of changes to shared files.)

 

The difficulty I have is with effectively using this Document Library now.  When the file is checked out and the folder is synced to my local machine shouldn't I have the ability to modify said file?

FileisCheckedOut.png

 

However the file remains uneditable.

FileRemainsUneditable.png

 

Furthermore, shouldn't we be able to add files to the local synced location?

DestinationFolderAccessDenied.png

I cannot save to this folder natively (using other software) or by dragging files into the folder.  I don't want to prevent people from adding things!

 

Alternative Workflow

The only alternative I can see is doing everything via the web-interface.  I have to check out the file, download it, edit it, reupload it via the web interface to the same location, make sure it prompts with the "A file with this name already exists" message (I have a colleague that swears it didn't give him this prompt for a PowerBI PBIX file) and then click "Replace".  It is a lot of extra steps and really removes any effectiveness of having the Sync client at all.  (It also means a completely different workflow for these files compared to other files in SharePoint document libraries because other libraries don't have this setting.  It's more of the forced-different-workflow than anything that bugs me.)

 

Am I missing something or is this a big limitation of checking in and out of a document library?

 

Suggested Alternative by Coworkers

The reality is people just end up suggesting, "Let's just turn off the requirement for checking things out" which is the opposite behavior of what I'm trying to accomplish here which is trusted and tracked collaboration on files with colleagues.

 

Are there any other workflows here that I'm missing?

 

Sync Client Version

I know the OneDrive client has gone through multiple iterations, but I try to stay on top of having the latest versions of everything.  I'm on Version 2017 (Build 17.3.7076.1026)

 

FWIW, I have reviewed the top questions about Check Out and Check In and have looked for an answer to this question in various spots, but have not found any.

7 Replies

Re: SharePoint Online with Forced Checkout and Synced Folders

This subject has already been discussed in several other threads: you can search for them.

Making short a long story: NGSC syncs libraries with mandatory check-out as read-only (showing the green padlock). At the moment this behavior is by design. Nobody knows if and when this limitation will be removed.

Re: SharePoint Online with Forced Checkout and Synced Folders

How about some search terms I should've used instead?  Or a link to just one of those several other threads.

 

I looked for the following terms (boolean and quoted searches included) on the Community...

  1. Require documents to be checked out
  2. Force checkout
  3. Sync folder check out
  4. All of the above with both permutations of "checkout" and "check out"
  5. And the corresponding searches in Google as well

Most of the responses I see are about native Office file formats (and Office program interfaces for checking in and out) and normal synced folders, but I still have yet to find one that addresses the situation with this setting enabled.

 

This subject has already been discussed in several other threads: you can search for them.

I'm sorry, but that response sucked.  What part of "FWIW, I have reviewed the top questions about Check Out and Check In and have looked for an answer to this question in various spots, but have not found any." was ambiguous?

Solution

Re: SharePoint Online with Forced Checkout and Synced Folders

I am afraid you have not searched in the right places... ;-)

For the official Microsoft statement, look for "Libraries with Checkout" in https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/3125202/restrictions-and-limitations-when-you-sync-files-an...

A couple of threads in this community are the following:

But there are others.

In these threads, of course, are discussed several reasons for the green locks, not only mandatory checkouts.

Hope it helps...

Re: SharePoint Online with Forced Checkout and Synced Folders

Anytime you turn any required anything on your library sync becomes read only and there is no way around it. Adding required meta data column, poof, read only sync. etc.

Your alternative would be to train folks to manually use the check-out and in feature on a file when they edit it to add comments or investigate using a SharePoint workflow and or preferably a  Flow to do some kind of workflow to reach out for comments possibly on files that they edit? That could be an alternative to the situation instead of forcing the users to check-out and in all the time. 

Use of version history etc. as well. as Co-Auth could be a good solution here assuming these are office files but if not then that's out of the question.

So what do you mean by Trusted and tracked collaboration? With audit logs and version history you can see who changed what so guess I'm confused personally at the end goal if maybe you could expand on that a little bit.

Re: SharePoint Online with Forced Checkout and Synced Folders

Yes, that does indeed help.  Thank you.  For anyone that stumbles across this message in the future, this is what it read...

LibrariesWithCheckout.png

 

I did actually search the Microsoft site before I posted here, but didn't find this section in this article.

Re: SharePoint Online with Forced Checkout and Synced Folders

So one of the things we wanted to do on the BI Team is be more purposeful about when we modified our PowerBI PBIX files.  The force checkout also prompts for a version and a comment when people check things in.  Maybe there are other ways of accomplishing this (that I don't know of or haven't found yet) but we wanted to...

  1. Know when changes were made, by whom, and for what purpose.
    (Version history alone does parts A and B but not C.)
  2. Know when someone was working on a report/series of reports so that another person wouldn't clobber the other person's work afterwards.
    (Without a native integration between PowerBI and SharePoint yet we couldn't just "edit the file in place.")
  3. Allow us to revert back to a known-quantity/state-of-being when needed.  (Requires all of #1.)

 

FWIW, I tried to just encourage/cajole folks into adding comments to files, but when it's all done via a synced library with no-prompts, I think people would end up modifying a file without even being conscious of the fact that they just created a new version in the document library.

 

This is what the file history looks like for one of these files.

 

Like I said, there may be other ways of accomplishing these goals, but by forcing a checkout of the files and prompting for a comment on check-in, it seems to have solved most of our issues but simultaneously created another one when there is a different workflow to check-out and check-in than folks are used to using.

 

Hopefully that makes some sense as to why it was enabled.  If there were other/better ways of accomplishing these goals that you know of, I'm all ears.

Re: SharePoint Online with Forced Checkout and Synced Folders

I've only used Flows a little, but will look into it as an alternative for providing comments to checked in files. I also wanted to avoid folks inadvertently clobbering each other's changes, and the check out/check in process seemed like a reasonable way of preventing that from occurring.
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