Sharepoint Online Check Out Behavior Question

Occasional Contributor

I'm not seeing a clear answer to this anywhere so hoping someone can provide a definitive answer. In our publishing site we have turned on check out/check in on pages and documents to help with version control and metadata control. However, our end users (with read only access) are getting prompted with the following warning/error message when they are clicking on the links to MS Office documents "We couldn't check out this file. Click OK to open a read-only copy" This is a horrible experience. We can avoid this by turning off require check out on the document library but that seems to fly in the face of MS suggested best practice. Are we missing something?



5 Replies
best response confirmed by Andrew Striemer (Occasional Contributor)

Take a look at the "Default open behavior for browser-enabled documents" setting for the library. If you have it set to open in browser, the visitors should not be getting that prompt



Thanks for that option. That will work for us. I am still curious why when the customers open in the client instead of the browser they get that message even if they have read only permission (seems like they shouldn't to us). But this will definitely work for us.



Dean, Andrew,

Interesting to read this. It seems like I am experiencing the same issue and have been searching for a resolution for a while. Unfortunately, due to the size of some of my files I do not simply want to set the default to opening files online. Do you have any other insight to offer as to the cause of the problem? Note that all other users of the same site have no problems.


I see this is an old thread but in case someone else is experiencing the same issue in 2022, in my case, the file had reaced its minor versions limit. I published a major version and the issue was resolved.
NB: During all my troubleshooting, I could not see the error message showing exactly what was wrong. Luckily I double clicked the upload center error prompt in the system tray and found a more meaningful error description there.

Only site owners and site members have the permission to check out files. And also note that the site visitors(read only access) can't check out a file. Take a look into this blog and experience the standalone editing environment using Check out in SharePoint online.