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How to enable document version conflict notification in MS Office collaboration scenario? RRS feed

  • Question

  • SharePoint 2007

    At my customer we are using SharePoint to establish MS Office 2003 collaboration.

    Now we are operating on an Excel file with several people. From time to time it happens that someone overwrites the previously checked-in version of another user because both opened the file for editing at the same time. This is rather unsatisfying...

    Is it possible to enable a version conflict check here? I'd like to get a notification when someone has checked-in an intermediate version of the file I'm about to check-in.


    • Edited by Mike Walsh FIN Monday, April 4, 2011 2:00 PM advert removed
    • Moved by Mike Walsh FIN Monday, April 4, 2011 2:48 PM SP 2010 q - off-topic in a pre-SP 2010 forum (even if there is no SP 2010 Collaboration forum) (From:SharePoint - Collaboration (pre-SharePoint 2010))
    • Moved by Clayton Cobb Saturday, April 9, 2011 3:24 PM pre2010 question (From:SharePoint 2010 - Setup, Upgrade, Administration and Operation)
    • Edited by Clayton Cobb Saturday, April 9, 2011 3:31 PM Added SharePoint 2007 text
    Monday, April 4, 2011 1:57 PM

Answers

  • I'm not clear on what you're saying.  If someone clicks "Edit in Excel," then that file is LOCKED even if it's not checked out.  No one can save over this file in SharePoint while the original user has it in edit mode.  What you're describing is not how SharePoint works.  It also doesn't make sense for them not to use check out due to the concerns you explained.  This is document management.  If they don't want conflicts, then they need to use the technology properly.  If someone checks it out, then absolutely everyone is locked out - that's the whole point.  The "for a long time" part is not true, though.  If someone is negligent and leaves a doc checked out while others need to edit it, then that is a training issue and a disregard for process.  However, even if this happens, an administrator of the doc lib can easily discard the check out or check it in for that person, but then that person's in-process changes will not be saved.

    I don't see how check-out is considered a bad thing by this company when they also don't want conflicts the way you've described - check-out is exactly how you ensure this.  This completely sounds like a training issue to me, and it's also not possible to edit a file that someone else has opened in edit mode, so even if they don't use check-out, no two people should be able to edit the same file at the same time - SharePoint does not allow this.

    Have you witnessed it happening?  Have you clicked "Edit in Excel," kept the doc open, then watched another user do the same thing?  Is that 2nd user truly able to update that file in SharePoint.  It should not be possible, because SharePoint locks the file immediately.  Are you sure the users aren't saving it locally and then uploading it when they're done?

    "Edit in Microsoft Excel" _is_ safe.  Why do people keep the file opened for extended periods of time instead of editing, then closing?  That's how it should be done.  If you keep it open, then you lock everyone out just like if you use check-out.  Even if SharePoint didn't lock the file, it would make no sense for multiple people to all be working on separate copies of the same document concurrently.


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    • Marked as answer by Lily Wu Sunday, April 17, 2011 9:12 AM
    Saturday, April 9, 2011 10:57 PM

All replies

  • Axel, what you've described should not be possible.  In SharePoint, when someone opens a document for editing, it becomes locked.  If someone else opens that document, they can only open it in Read-Only mode.  The only way that 2nd person can edit the doc is if they "Save As" and save it somewhere else.  They cannot save it back to SharePoint while the other person has it open for editing.  So, there should be no way to overwrite previous changes unless the users are sorely uneducated in how to use SharePoint.  This should be the process:

    • User 1 checks out the document
    • Users 2-2000 leave it alone until User 1 checks it back in (they can read it, but they should not be trying to edit it)
    • User 1 checks in the new changes
    • User 2 checks out the document
    • If at any point in time a user opens a doc that is checked out, they are NOT able to do anything with that document.  So, if they are saving the document down and making changes locally, then they are circumventing the whole point of document management

    SharePoint couldn't possibly know to de-conflict changes the way you asked.  How would SharePoint know you didn't actually want to make those changes?  There are no intermediate versions.  If a file is checked out, you can't work on it, so there's no way for you to check in a file that was being edited by someone else unless you guys are completely using SharePoint improperly.


    SharePoint Architect || Microsoft MVP || My Blog
    Planet Technologies || SharePoint Task Force
    Saturday, April 9, 2011 3:35 PM
  • Thanks for replying, Clayton,

    actually what they (we all) do is to activate the drop-down box, select "Edit in Microsoft Excel" and open the file. Then we keep this file opened and someone from time to time saves his/her version of the document. That's how they told me they want this to happen. They dismiss the check-out feature because in that case one user would lock down all the other users for a long time if they wanted to edit the Excel file.

    The only way to quickly check-out and check-in a file seems to be by using the "Edit in Micosoft Excel" context menu item. Using the "Check-out" context menu item just in case won't work because everyone locks each other.

    I'm not supposed to suggest a new workflow to this huge company. But still I want to make sure whether their workflow is correct using SharePoint 2007.

    If there is this context menu item "Edit in Microsoft Excel", what is it for if it isn't safe then?

    Thanks a bunch for enlightening me!

    Best regards,
    Axel Dahmen


    Vote here for a Microsoft Connect feedback channel on Windows - and win a better Windows!

    Saturday, April 9, 2011 10:11 PM
  • I'm not clear on what you're saying.  If someone clicks "Edit in Excel," then that file is LOCKED even if it's not checked out.  No one can save over this file in SharePoint while the original user has it in edit mode.  What you're describing is not how SharePoint works.  It also doesn't make sense for them not to use check out due to the concerns you explained.  This is document management.  If they don't want conflicts, then they need to use the technology properly.  If someone checks it out, then absolutely everyone is locked out - that's the whole point.  The "for a long time" part is not true, though.  If someone is negligent and leaves a doc checked out while others need to edit it, then that is a training issue and a disregard for process.  However, even if this happens, an administrator of the doc lib can easily discard the check out or check it in for that person, but then that person's in-process changes will not be saved.

    I don't see how check-out is considered a bad thing by this company when they also don't want conflicts the way you've described - check-out is exactly how you ensure this.  This completely sounds like a training issue to me, and it's also not possible to edit a file that someone else has opened in edit mode, so even if they don't use check-out, no two people should be able to edit the same file at the same time - SharePoint does not allow this.

    Have you witnessed it happening?  Have you clicked "Edit in Excel," kept the doc open, then watched another user do the same thing?  Is that 2nd user truly able to update that file in SharePoint.  It should not be possible, because SharePoint locks the file immediately.  Are you sure the users aren't saving it locally and then uploading it when they're done?

    "Edit in Microsoft Excel" _is_ safe.  Why do people keep the file opened for extended periods of time instead of editing, then closing?  That's how it should be done.  If you keep it open, then you lock everyone out just like if you use check-out.  Even if SharePoint didn't lock the file, it would make no sense for multiple people to all be working on separate copies of the same document concurrently.


    SharePoint Architect || Microsoft MVP || My Blog
    Planet Technologies || SharePoint Task Force
    • Marked as answer by Lily Wu Sunday, April 17, 2011 9:12 AM
    Saturday, April 9, 2011 10:57 PM
  • Hi Clayton,

    thanks a lot for enlightening me here.

    Today I've been talking to one of my colleagues to discuss this issue using the facts you gave me.

    We've been trying to reproduce this scenario together, and yes, you're perfectly right, it's impossible to save the file while I'm having it opened for editing. So indeed some of my other colleagues must be using an offline version which they are using to overwrite the current version then.

    With your valuable explanation I am now able to discuss this in our next meeting.

    Thank you very much,
    Axel

    • Edited by Mike Walsh FIN Monday, April 11, 2011 10:49 AM sig removed. Point at own websites; blogs etc. but no adverts
    Monday, April 11, 2011 10:25 AM
  • Greetings Axel

    I found your posting and am going through a similar situation as the one you described in your post. The difference for me is, when the user saves a copy to his/hers desktop (while someone else has the "master" version opened for editing), and saves a copy for a later occasion to their desktop for example. When they are ready to incorporated the contribution (say one day/one week later), the user is not able to work with the "document management panel" and get the most updated version of the document, because when he/she "clicks" on "get update" nothing happens...except that they can see that the main document has been updated by other users. So they end up abandoning  their "desktop copy and retyping their contribution all over again on the  master version.

    I was hoping you could tell me how to advise the user, since I am not sure if the document workspace settings are correct. The reason I say that is even though I know there are several user contributing to the document, I cannot see them listed on the Document Management Pane under "People".

    Any help would be greatly appreciated

     


    wanda larangeira
    • Edited by wandilly Thursday, November 17, 2011 4:56 PM
    Thursday, November 17, 2011 4:55 PM
  • Hi Wanda,

    I'm the wrong person to ask this question to, I'm afraid, because I'm not working with SharePoint frequently. Particularly since I switched to another project here. But I'm confident your question might be answered by one of the experts here.

    I believe that there is no functionality to merge document content from several contributors into one final Office document. So I guess your user would have to manually merge his/her content into the final "master" version anyway. But I could be wrong here, though.

    I hope someone will be able to give you a more profound answer to your question.

    Take care,
    Axel

     


    Vote here for a Microsoft Connect feedback channel on Windows - and win a better Windows!

    • Edited by BetterToday Thursday, November 17, 2011 9:41 PM
    Thursday, November 17, 2011 9:40 PM
  • Depending on your version of SharePoint, you may want to consider Excel Services.  The Check-in feature works exactly as Clayton described, or if you wanted to allow simultaneous editing, Excel Services could work.

    Failing that, a data sheet view could be a possibility also.


    Steven Andrews | SharePoint Professional | http://www.twitter.com/backpackerd00d | https://baron72.wordpress.com/
    Thursday, November 17, 2011 9:50 PM
    Answerer
  • Greetings Steven

    The version of SharePoint is 2010 , as for MS Offcie(Excel) 2007. My impression was that the creation of an workspace document published  site would allow that to happen(multiple collaboration) via the document management panel as showing below.

          


    wanda larangeira
    • Edited by wandilly Monday, November 21, 2011 10:05 PM
    Monday, November 21, 2011 10:02 PM