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We have an issue in our organisation where people upload documents, and then walk away thinking everybody else can see it. However, we have minor and major versions enabled, meaning documents in draft are simply invisible to read-only users.

Is there a setting (or combination of settings) which will automatically publish only the first version of a document, so that this first version is always visible? Afterwards it would be up to the document owner to ensure later versions (e.g 2.0, 3.0, etc) are manually published as required.

Alternatively, is there a mechanism to very clearly highlight to a document owner when their document is not yet published? By default, published and unpublished documents appear much the same in document libraries.

Thanks in advance

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There is no such settings which will automatically publish only the first version of a document.

You can show Version column in your view and filter on the version column to see the documents which has no major versions:

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