Tuesday, July 16, 2013

How to Enable Check In / Check Out & Versioning

Hello Everyone,

Sorry for the delay in posts, but I have been struggling with the type of content I want this blog to provide.  After my train ride to work this morning I was approached by gentlemen with some SharePoint questions since he saw that I was reading a book for an upcoming certification exam.

His question was simple in that he wanted to know how to enable Check in / Checkout, how versioning worked, how to turn it on, and its benefits.  I realized that these posts don’t have to be the most technical as long as I am able to help people.

I will first explain how to activate the features & then the ideology behind them.

How to Activate Check In / Check Out

1.    Navigate to the library you would like the check-in / checkout activated

2.    Select Library under Library Tools

3.    Select Library Settings

4.    Select Versioning Settings

5.    Select the Yes Radio Button next to “Require Check Out”

6.    Select Ok

a.    You now have the Check In / Check Out Feature!

How to Activate Versioning

1.    Navigate to the library or list you would like to have versioning

2.    Select Library under Library Tools or List under List Tools

3.    Select Library Settings / List Settings

4.    Select Versioning Settings

5.    Select “create a version each time you edit an item in this library / list

6.    Input the number of versions (explained later in the post)

7.    Select Ok

a.    You now have the Versioning Feature!


From this point on in the article I will be discussing some of the benefits and caveats of activating these features. 

Pros & Cons of Check in / Check Out


·         Avoiding other users modify your files

·         Preventing multiple users edit the same file at the same time


·         Users have to remember to check-out documents before editing and check-in after finishing

·         If a user forgot to check-in a file, other users cannot modify that file but they still can view it. Only admin can check-in the file if necessary

·         For documents just uploaded, their state is checking out, the user has to check-in them. Otherwise, other users cannot see them


Versioning is a great tool, but versioning has the capability of eating up allot of disk space due to the way files are saved.  In 2010 an entire file is saved for each version of the document.  To put it in perspective, if you have one file with 10 versions you essentially have used the space of ten files.  When you multiply this out by 10 files with 10 versions each, you now have taken up the space of 100 files.  There are a plethora of benefits though with versioning such as major and minor version, version history, and being able to review past versions.  Check with your SharePoint administrator on how many versions they would recommend based on your infrastructure.

Microsoft has addressed this space issue in 2013 with “Shredded Storage,” which can be a misleading name.  Shredded Storage is a huge benefit of 2013 since rather than saving the entire file as a new version, it will only save the incremental changes.


2 versions of a file at 4 megabytes = 8 megabytes used

2013 with Shredded Storage

2 versions of a file at 4 megabytes with an updated paragraph = 4.00001 megabytes used.


Shredded storage only affects Microsoft Product Documents and will not work for documents such as PDF etc, these will be versioned as they were in 2010.


I hope this clears up any confusion on this topic and thanks again for reading!



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