Editing and Checking Out Files

You may edit files that are stored in a SharePoint document library if you are the owner of the file or if the owner has given you permission to do so. When you want to edit a file, the file will open in the online version of the application by default.

Edits that are made to a shared file or folder will affect everyone who has access to it. Because multiple people on a shared file can potentially edit it at the same time, there is the possibility that someone's work can be accidentally overwritten. To avoid this, it is recommended that you check out a file before you edit it. This includes if you plan on downloading a copy of a file, editing it, and re-uploading a new version. If you check out a file, be sure to check it back in when you are done so that other people can access it after you.

  1. Navigate to the file in the document library.
    Find the file in the list of files
  2. Click the name of the file to open it in the default application. If the file is a Microsoft file, such as a Word document or PowerPoint presentation, it will open in the online version of the application.

If the file is a Microsoft file, such as a Word document or PowerPoint presentation, you can instead open it in the corresponding desktop application, such as Microsoft PowerPoint on your desktop. Please note that this is not recommended unless you have checked out the file (see below).

  1. Navigate to the file in the document library.
  2. Hover over the file, then click the vertical ellipses that appear on the right for more options.
    The more options menu is to the right of the name, after the share option
  3. In the dropdown menu that appears, select Open.
    Choose Open in the menu
  4. Select Open in app.
    Open in app will be below open in browser
  5. Your file will open in the desktop application.

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

  1. Navigate to the file in the document library.
    Find the file in the list of files
  2. Hover over the file, then click the vertical ellipses that appear on the right for more options.
    The more options menu is to the right of the name, after the share option
  3. In the dropdown menu that appears, select More.
    Click More
  4. Select Check Out.
    Check out is near the bottom of the More menu
  5. A confirmation note is displayed.
    The top of SharePoint will display a confrmation panel
  6. To the right of to the file name, there is now a red arrow icon. If you click on the icon, you can see the progress of the checkout.
    Check out progress includes who checked out the file and when.
  1. Navigate to the file in the document library.
    Find the file in the list of files
  2. Hover over the file, then click the vertical ellipses that appear on the right for more options.
    The more options menu is to the right of the name, after the share option
  3. In the dropdown menu that appears, select More.
    Click More
  4. Select Check In.
    Check in is near the bottom of the menu
  5. In the panel that appears, type a comment describing your changes.
    Make your comment concise and helpful
  6. Click Check In.

If there are many members of the site that may be editing files, you might want to enforce checking out of files so no one’s work accidentally gets overwritten if multiple people want to edit the same file at the same time.

Note: Only owners of a document library can change this setting.

  1. Go to the document library you plan to require checkouts in.
  2. In the top right of the screen, click the Settings gear.
    Settings is in the top right before help
  3. In the dropdown menu that appears, click Library Settings.
    Library settings is near the top of the menu
  4. Under the General Settings section, click Versioning settings.
    Versioning settings is in the bottom right
  5. In the bottom right, under Require documents to be checked out before they can be edited?, select Yes.
  6. To save your settings and return to the Library Settings page, select OK.