- by Brett Hill
One of SharePoint Online’s most useful features is the ability to check in and check out documents. This feature works automatically with Microsoft Office so you can open a document stored in a document library on SharePoint Online, check out the document, work on it offline, then check it back in. Others will see the document is checked out (as shown with the green arrow attached to the word document as shown below) and have the option to download a read-only version.
Even with these safeguards, it is possible to overwrite a checked in version of a document with older version. SharePoint Online has a solution for this – Document Version Control.
Enabling Document Version Control:
Document Libraries in SharePoint Online support version control at multiple levels. The SharePoint Site administrator has to enable versioning in document library settings, as it is not enabled by default. It’s very easy to enable as follows:
i. Go to the document library.
In this screenshot I have clicked on Shared Document link to navigate to the Shared Documents library.
ii. In the document library, click on ‘Settings’ in the document library menu, and select ‘Document Library Settings’ option, as shown in this screenshot below.
iii. In the document library customization page (‘Customize Shared Document’ in the screenshot below), select ‘Versioning Settings’, under the ‘General Settings’ sections.
iv. The version settings page will open as shown in the screenshot below.
Before configuring the settings, understand that SharePoint versioning has built into it the notion of publishing drafts and major versions. Drafts may or may not be visible to others browsing the site – that’s controlled by you with these settings. Major versions are considered “published” versions are visible to others by default.
Require content approval – Before you publish a major version, you can elect to have it approved. This is a great feature for tightly controlled documents that you need to insure are reviewed before they published.
Document Version History – this is what turns on the version history feature
· No versioning- this is the default setting.
· Create major versions – A major version is basically the document that is ‘published’ on the library. With this option selected, all the versions of the document are considered to be “published” versions. Only whole number versions are created and retained in this case.
· Create major and minor (draft) versions – When you select this option, you have the option of indicating of the version you are checking in is a major or minor updated. Minor versions are marked with a fractional number in the second octet.
· Optionally limit the number of versions to retain – You can use this option to limit the number of versions of a document retained by the document library. These limits can be established at both the major and minor version levels. This can be useful to control how much disk space your site consumes.
Draft Item Security – you can hide draft documents from view easily with this setting.
Require Check Out – You should enable this setting to force version updates.
Once set, when you check in a document, a user will see :
In addition, now when you right click on the document, you will see additional options.
So you can now select the Version History and view any version you want.
If you ever had to untangle the mess that happens when you have multiple version of a document floating around, you’ll quickly recognize the value in the version control features built into SharePoint Online.
See ya in the cloud,