At one of our clients, who had major construction projects with several thousand external stakeholders in SharePoint, it happened time and again that users had unknowingly checked out documents. The reason for this is, on the one hand, mandatory fields that have not been filled in and, on the other hand, users who do not notice the small green check-out symbol. Unfortunately, this can easily happen if you don’t work with SharePoint every day. A good overview and reasons can be found on the Microsoft page.

We therefore had the requirement to inform users:

  • You have checked out documents.
  • They need to set an action to check in their documents to SharePoint so that they are accessible to others.

Our solution for unknowingly checked out documents in SharePoint

We decided to solve this requirement in a smart and simple way. Namely, using a simple Powershell script that we attach to a task scheduler job and thus:

  • search the entire SharePoint platform once a day for checked-out documents and
  • write them to a central SharePoint list (with information about which user checked out the file, in which library and for which project):
SharePoint documents unknowingly checked out - List of all checked out documents
  • and then, based on this list, we send out one mail per user with all of its checked-out documents throughout SharePoint (cross-project).
SharePoint documents unknowingly checked out - Personal email with all checked out documents in SharePoint

User-friendly and time-efficient, we send this out as a link to the relevant element. This allows the user to see at a glance which data is missing and can also check in the document at once. Voilà, the documents are available again for everyone.

In addition, we have added a few functionalities. For example, it is still checking whether the user still exists. If not, an administrator of the project is notified that they need to check these documents in to SharePoint.

No more checked out documents in SharePoint

A simpler and smarter solution – do you have a similar requirement or are you interested in the solution? Then leave us a comment or simply write us an email. We look forward to helping you so that you or your users love SharePoint too!

See also related solutions such as Smarter Excel Export, Smarter Site Structure, or SharePoint file sharing with external (anonymous) users (an overview can be found here).