Open or edit a file in a library

The method that you choose to open or edit a file in a library (library: A location on a SharePoint site where a collection of files is managed. The library can display information, including user-defined properties, about each file.) depends on what you want to do to the file.

When you click a file from some programs that are compatible with Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, such as Microsoft Office Word 2007, you have the option to view a read-only copy of the file or to open the file for editing. The option helps you to open the file in a way that matches your intentions.

 Note   Most common types of files, such as documents and spreadsheets, can be viewed or edited from a library in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. If your system cannot recognize a type of file — for example, because no program on your system is associated with the file type — you can download or save the file locally. Later, you can open it in a program that can recognize the file type.



Open a read-only copy of a file

  1. If the library is not already open, click its name on the Quick Launch.

If the name of your library does not appear, click View All Site Content, and then click the name of your library.

  1. Click the name of the file that you want to open, and then do one of the following:
    • If you are opening a file that was created in some programs that are compatible with Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, such as Office Word 2007, you may see a dialog box that asks how you want to open the file. If a dialog box appears, select the option to open the file as read-only.
    • In other programs, such as an earlier version of a program or a program that is not compatible with Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, the file automatically opens as read-only when you click it.

If you intend to edit the file, do not open it by clicking it; instead, point to the file name to display a down arrow. Click the down arrow, and then in the menu that appears, click Edit in Application.

  • In a picture library, the properties of the image appear when you click the file. You can preview the image in the Preview section, or to view a read-only copy in a browser window, click the image preview or the image name.

 Note   If you make changes that you want to keep while you are viewing the read-only file, you may not be able to save the file directly to the library and keep the same file name. You can keep your work, however. You can rename the file and save it to the document library, or you can save the file to your hard disk and then upload it later. If you upload the file later, you can upload it as a version of the existing file if versions are being tracked, so that it is part of the file version history.

 Tip   Some programs that are compatible with Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 provide an option to edit a read-only file. In some cases, this option appears on a toolbar at the top of the file. Using this option can be helpful if you first open a file to read it, and then decide you need to edit the file instead.

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Check out a file

When you check out (check out: To lock a file while editing it to prevent others from overwriting or editing it inadvertently. Only the user who checks out a document can edit the document.) a file, you ensure that others cannot make changes to the file while you edit it. Other users don't see your changes until you check in (check in: To release the lock for editing and enable other users to view the updated file or check out the file.) the file.

Your organization may require you to check out a file to edit it. This prevents multiple people from making changes at the same time, which helps to avoid editing conflicts and confusion. In libraries that require check out, the file is automatically checked out for you when you edit it, if you haven't already checked out the file.

  1. If the library is not already open, click its name on the Quick Launch.

If the name of your library does not appear, click View All Site Content, and then click the name of your library.

  1. Point to the file name to display a down arrow.

In a picture library, click the file, and then in the properties that appear, click Check Out.

  1. Click the down arrow, and in the menu that appears, click Check Out.

When any file except a picture is checked out, the icon for the file in the library changes to indicate that the file is checked out Checked Out. When a picture is checked out, the button on the property page changes to Check In.

  1. If the program that you want to use to edit the file is compatible with Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, you may see a message that asks if you want to work with the file as a local draft. If you want to work on a copy of the file on your hard disk, leave the Use my local drafts folder check box selected. If you want the draft copy to be stored on the server while it is checked out to you, clear the check box.

 Notes 

  • Later, if you decide to check in the file without saving your changes, you can discard your changes. You lose any changes made while the file was checked out. The file reverts to the last checked-in version, and no version history is kept for the unsaved changes.
  • You can check in the file, so that others can see your changes, and keep the file checked out while you continue to work on the file. To do so, you can select the Keep the document checked out after checking in this version check box when you check the file back in.

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Edit a file

Depending on how your library is set up, you may be required to check out a file before you edit it, which prevents other people from changing the file at the same time. If someone else has checked out the file, you cannot edit it.

If you do not check out a file before you edit it, someone else could edit the file while you are working on it. When two or more people work on a file at the same time, it is possible to accidentally overwrite each other's changes.

  1. If the library is not already open, click its name on the Quick Launch.

If the name of your library does not appear, click View All Site Content, and then click the name of your library.

  1. Do one of the following:
    • If you are opening a file that was created in a program that is compatible with Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, such as Office Word 2007, click the file. If you see a dialog box that asks how you want to open the file, select the option to edit the file.
    • If you are editing the file in an earlier version of a program, or in a program that is not compatible with Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, point to the file name to display a down arrow. Click the down arrow, and on the menu that appears, click Edit in Program.
    • In a picture library, select the check boxes for the picture or pictures that you want to edit. On the Actions menu Actions menu, click Edit.
  2. Depending on the settings for your library and the program that you are using to edit the file, you may see a message when you open the file. For example, the message may ask whether you think the file is safe to open or it may notify you that your file is being checked out, if your library requires files to be checked out. If you want to proceed, respond to the message by clicking OK, or the equivalent.
  3. Edit the file, save the file, and then close the program.
  4. If the file is checked out, and the program that you are using is compatible with Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, you are prompted to check in the file when you close it. If you do not want to check in the file then, you can check in the file later by using the drop-down menu of the file in the library.

 Notes 

  • If you are editing the file but do not have it checked out, your changes appear when you save the file back to the library. If the file is checked out, your changes appear when you check in the file.
  • Depending on how your library is set up, you may be prompted for additional information about the file when you save it. For example, you may be asked to choose the content type of the file or enter more details about the file.

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Work offline with a file from a document library

If you are editing your file from a document library by using a program that is compatible with Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, such as Office Word 2007, you can check out and work with the file on your hard disk. Depending on your server, working with files on your hard disk may be faster than working with files on your server.

You must be connected to the server to check out the file, but you can work on the file in a server drafts folder on your computer, whether or not you are connected to the server. For example, you can check out a file from your Windows SharePoint Services site and then work on it later on your portable computer. Regardless of where you work with the file, the copy on the server is updated when you check the file back in.

This option is available for document libraries only.

  1. If the library is not already open, click its name on the Quick Launch.

If the name of your library does not appear, click View All Site Content, and then click the name of your library.

  1. Point to a file name in the library to display a down arrow.
  2. Click the down arrow, and then click Check Out.
  3. In the dialog box, select the Use my local drafts folder check box.

 Note   If you are checking out a file that was created by a program that isn't compatible with Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, the Use my local drafts folder check box does not appear, and you cannot work with the file offline.

  1. Edit the file, and then check the file back in when you finish.

 Note   In some programs that are compatible with Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, you can change the location of your local drafts folder where your files are placed while they are checked out to you. For more information, see Help in your program.

 Tip   You can also connect your library to some e-mail programs that are compatible with Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, such as Microsoft Office Outlook 2007, so that you can read, edit, and search your files offline. For more information, see Help in your e-mail program.

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Applies to:
SharePoint Server 2007, Windows SharePoint Services 3.0