Documents are Read-Only in App when Versioning is Enabled

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I'm working on setting up versioning and approvals for documents, to streamline some document control processes. What I want to do is very simple:


- Create major and minor (draft) versions when a document is revised. Submit for approval to change from a minor version to a major version.

- Only users who can edit items can see draft items

- All editing is performed using the desktop application (word, excel, etc.)

- No new documents get created under any circumstances. Only new major and minor versions of existing documents.


To me these are the most basic of requirements for any user who wants to achieve secure and robust document management. However, it seems it is impossible to meet all of these criteria simultaneously. For example, if users who can see draft items is limited to only users who can edit items, then any documents opened in the desktop app are locked in read-only mode, even for people who have edit permissions. Why would this be the case? If a user can edit the user should be able to edit. Especially in the desktop application, where full-functionality of the application is actually provided. Documents should only ever be locked in read-only mode if a user has read-only access or the document needs to be checked out to edit. Yes, an editor can open the document in read-only mode and then save it as a new file, but then you are losing all of the version history for that document, which eliminates the benefits of turning on versioning in the first place. Yes, I can change it so that any user with read access can see draft items, but then draft documents become available to the general public, which eliminates the benefits of requiring approval to publish documents. Yes, I can edit the documents from the web app, but a huge amount of functionality is lost for macro-enabled spreadsheets. None of these options is even a feasible solution. To the point where I would be better off performing version control manually because sharepoint is so restrictive.


This seems like a major oversight that hugely impacts the practical useability of versioning & approvals, and of SharePoint in general. I would like to request that Microsoft allow users who have edit permissions to be able to edit documents in both the web app and the desktop app regardless of what the versioning settings are. 

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