How do I check out, check in, or discard changes to files in a Sharepoint library?

If you want to make changes to a file that resides in a site library, the safest way to do it is to check the file out. That way, you can be sure that no one else can change the file while you are working on it. When you have the file checked out, you have the opportunity to edit it on or offline, and save it—multiple times, if necessary.

When you complete your edits and check the file back into its site library, other people can see your changes and it becomes available to them for check-out, if they have appropriate permissions. And, if you decide not to make or keep any changes in the file, you can simply discard your checkout so that you do not affect version history.

  1. Navigate to the library where your file resides.
  2. Check out the file in the following manner:
  1. When the file is checked out, the icon next to the file name is partially covered by a green, downward-pointing arrow.  This tells you, or anyone else, that the file is checked out. If you hover over the icon of any checked-out file, a tool tip displays the name of the document and the name of the person who has it checked out.


Check in a file

Your files, and any changes you have made to them, will not be available to your colleagues until you check them back into your library.

To check in a file:

  1. Navigate to the library where your file resides.
  2. Select File Tab – and check in from the ribbon to check your file back in:
  3. If you are finished with your work on the file and do not need to keep it checked out, select No in the Retain Check Out area. 


  • In the Comments area, add a comment that describes the changes you mad. This step is optional but recommended as a best practice. Check-in comments are especially helpful when several people work on a file. Moreover, if versions are being tracked in your organization, the comment becomes part of the version history, which may be important to you in the future, if you need to return to an earlier version of the file for any reason.
  • Click OK to finish checking in the file or Cancel if you change your mind for some reason. The green arrow disappears from the file icon when the file is checked back in.


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