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We are attempting to create a functional area for a time limited project which brings together documents from multiple SCs’ libraries. At the end of the project, all documents would be returned to the original SCs so the authors can maintain ownership and manage. However, I am looking for a more elegant solution than having to pick around various SCs for the docs and then move them backwards and forwards.

On a practical level I would like to have an active link library that allows the users to see and edit documents from a single SC, while keeping the original documents in their originating SCs. Is there a way of being able to check out and edit documents through their links in different SCs?

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You can use the "Link to document" Content type by adding it to your document libraries, which practically enables you to type if the address of where the actual document lives instead of storing it. You need make sure the option to "Managed Content Types" is enabled on your Document Library prior to be able to add it.

On the other hand, have you considered using also "Send To" menu option. This practically enables anyone to keep synchronized copies of documents while having the same documet scattered around in dedicated libraries. Many articles on the web show how to setup and configure this, few examples here below

Hope it helps, C:\Marius

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Apologies, couldn't get my login to work. Thank you, it does provide an option. However, we would still prefer to be able to only have a single document (or one that actively syncs to the copies), so what happens to one (check out, etc.) is automatically replicated across all links/copies. Ideal for us would be the full functionality you normally have for a document, applied to a link in a separate(s) SC document library. Are there any other options? –  user8385 May 16 '12 at 12:14
    
Keeping multiple documents syncronized down to that level adds a lot of overhead to SharePoint even in the case of a custom solution. Nothing OOTB, the next level would be a SharePoint Designer 2010 Workflow to copy items every time a change operation occurs. The complexities and implications are extreme here, raising many questions (maintain index of copies, what if some copies have been edited elsewhere, which is master copy, etc.?) –  C. Marius - MVP May 16 '12 at 18:49
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