Good Day Folks of SP SE,

Over the past 6 months or so, I have been getting more and more reports of people checking out documents, editing them, and not being able to check them back in. As one of our company's SharePoint Admins, I am lucky to have the capability to check them back in, or discard the check out entirely. BUT, what I want to know is (two-parter):

Why does this issue occur in the first place?


Is there anything the user can do / can do differently to prevent this problem from happening?

I browsed many articles on the internet and checked around the SP SE for related content, or answers, but was not able to find any. If you have any insight, it would be greatly appreciated!

EDIT 1: Thanks Michael Bailey for requesting clarification (though next time, the comments section would work better) I have attached the error message below.

Please note that this image was screen capped by the same user that checked out the document to begin with.


  • I cannot tell from the screenshot: what is the file type? Are they opening the file in a desktop application or through the browser? If it is a desktop app, do they still have the application (and document) open when they try to check it back in (through the browser)? Mar 9, 2017 at 22:05

1 Answer 1


Set unique permissions on the document Library for your users to read. From the information you have given it sounds as though your users only need to view the documents. I had a similar issue of documents continually being checkout (people were mistaking checkout for downloading) so we removed there rights - striped them back to read. As for why - could be multiple reasons.

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