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How to make files marked "edited" shown as checked out

Posted on 2011-02-17
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
I have a large group of users they want to have files that are "edited" to be marked in the same way as "checked out"

Files that are "checked out" can be seen via the "Checked Out To" column in document views, while those documents that users have selected "edit" do not display who has the file open for editing.

Is there a way to fix this?
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Question by:InfoZenHQ
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Expert Comment

by:nsyyoung
ID: 34918435
If a file is checked out, it would be edited by that person, so the column would be the same.  It sounds like an extra step, but you could create a calculated column to mirror the Checked Out column and call it Being Edited By, then show that column in views, right next to Modified By, so you can see who had it last and who has it now.

It sounds like a semantics matter, or did I miss the point?

Oh, but that would only apply if the doc library has Check Out/Check In enabled.  Is that not the case and they want a separate field to warn them that someone has it out?  Same thing: create a Being Edited By column, maybe a people picker populated by a SharePoint Group, that you could show in views.  You'd have to stress the importance of manually updating that field when a file is being edited or not.  

I would recommend enabling CO/CI and using the default Checked Out To column, or a mirrored column with a prettier name.
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Author Comment

by:InfoZenHQ
ID: 34918662
The proposal team doesn't want to go through the "extra steps" the check in and out all the time. They want to use edit. In addition to CO/CI and while the CO/CI works fine on the site now and so does the column "Checked out to" I need help with the files in "edit" rather than CO

I've been looking for a "Being edited by" but it does not seem to exist. I guess then my next question is where and how would I go about creating that column. I just don't have that as an option at this time.

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nsyyoung earned 500 total points
ID: 34918844
You have to create it.  Make sure there is a sharepoint group to choose from, then go to site columns > Create > (call it whatever you want) Person or Group.   Choose your SharePoint Group from the availabe groups list toward the bottom > OK.

Then add your column to your library (and content type, if you're using them) and add it to views as needed.

If they don't want to check out, though, I don't have high hopes for the extra step of making sure this new field is current.

You can tell them that enabling CO/CI and choosing the "Edit in <office application>" choice from the file's context menu will either automatically check it out or prompt them to do so, and that just closing the file and being automatically prompted to check it in are WAY less effort than redoing a file because person A didn't keep the column updated and person B wrote over it.

Be wary of setting wag-the-dog precedents like this.  It could make your site administration nightmarish.  I speak from experience.  :)

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Author Comment

by:InfoZenHQ
ID: 34919061
I guess I meant more how do I create a column that automatically updates in the same way "Checked Out To" function except with Edit. That's really want I need. I don't want a field they have to enter in data.

Imagine that Bob starts to edit a document thinking "I'll be done in 5 minutes no one will ever know". Bob suddenly has to run home and take care of a sick kitten and forgets to release the document. We need to know who to yell at to release the document when it's in edit mode.

I tried creating the column in the following way (and I really apologize but I'm barely familiar with sharepoint at a user level and now I have to admin the site so please bear with me).

I put the name:                          test
for the type:                              person or group
Description:                              <blank>
Require column contain data:   No
Allow multiple selections:         No
Allow Selection of:                   People only
Choose from:                           All users
Show field                               name with presence

I added it to the document library
When "Evil Eve" CO a file the "Checked Out By" column says "Evil Eve"
When "Evil Eve" edits a file the "test" column is blank

I really need "test" to say "Evil Eve" without manually setting the data
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Expert Comment

by:nsyyoung
ID: 34919257
I'm sorry, I'm helping to mix you up.  The people-picker column that you created above would have to be manually updated, which you said you don't want to do.  The mirrored column that I spoke about above is separate and would get its data from the checked out to column, which wouldn't be in effect, since CO/CI is not enabled.

So, where would "test" get its data from?  It needs to be either manually updated, which is not okay, or it needs to automatically get information from somewhere, but there's no checked out column to reference, since it's not enabled, and no other way in SharePoint that I know of to indicate that a file is being edited.  That lack of way to see if a file is being edited is why, I believe, CO/CI was developed.

So now we're back where we started.  CO/CI does exactly what you want, so I strongly recommend using it.  Perhaps there is a way that developer experts know to force what you want programmatically, but then again, since the file is opened and SP doesn't care that it's opened if CO/CI isn't enabled, how would it know to advertise that?
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Author Comment

by:InfoZenHQ
ID: 34919966
Let me try again

How would I create (since it doesn't exist yet) a column that broadcast which user has a file out for edit in theb same way co/ci work (ie that it is updated completely automatically) and displays the username of the person (just like ci/co) does but without using the ci/co mechanism.

The system has to know this because when a second person select edit on a file it gives an error message that the file is being editted. So how do I get that info and put it into a column  
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Expert Comment

by:nsyyoung
ID: 34920233
I understand what you're asking, but I don't think you can translate that to SharePoint, although I would be happy to learn that I'm wrong.  

It would probably involve a developer programatically taking the 'locked for editing by <user>' status and displaying it in a custom column if the file is being edited, or not displaying it if no one has it open.  The question is how to get at that status for a file...  I'm sorry I'm not more help for you.  
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Author Closing Comment

by:InfoZenHQ
ID: 34921706
Really appreciate you taking the time to go through all the permutations and giving a strong recommendation on best practices. Absolute lifesafer.

I did finally go with the "force edit to Check Out File" option. Accomplishes exactly what the proposal team wanted without requiring any SharePoint coding exerpience
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