Making Hidden Files with “No Versioning” Option Checked, Visible in SharePoint Library

Blog written by: 
Chris Ang
SharePoint Architect


The Versioning settings in a SharePoint Library has an option called “Require documents to be checked out before they can be edited”. If this is selected as Yes, then the user who uploads a new file needs to know that they must check-in the file to make it visible to the other users! Hence, there is a risk that the latest files uploaded to the library would be hidden from other people’s view.

This is a very common scenario: where a user would ‘drag & drop’ files into a SharePoint library but not input all ‘required metadata’ values, and therefore not be able to easily check in those files, and often leave them checked out (they forget about them, leave the company, etc). Ending up with a bunch of files with ‘no check in version’ and are sitting in SharePoint but only visible to the user who uploaded them (and SharePoint Admins).

Below is the setting that requires users to Check Out and Check in files. A good option, but can cause issues if not used correctly.

So, the user would have to check-in the files like this:

sharepoint check in hidden files

While some people may like to keep files hidden from others, especially the ones that aren’t yet ready to viewing, it truly is a pain-point when some other user tries to upload a file with the exact same name as the hidden one but encounters a warning message such as this:

cannot upload file sharepoint

Even the most experienced SharePoint users may not know how to resolve this issue unless they have encountered it before. Here is a step-by-step method to make the hidden files visible again:

Step 1 – Go to Library Settings and click on “Manage files which have no checked in version” under the Permissions and Management heading.

Step 2 – Find the file that is marked “checked out to others”. Check the box beside the file and choose “Take Ownership of Selection”. NOTE: That this requires you to have Full Control to take ownership of these files.

This allows you to ‘over-ride’ the ‘creators’ ownership (so that you can check it in yourself or delete it).

take ownership of file sharepoint

Step 3 – Press OK when the popup “Are you sure you want to take ownership of [filename]?” appears.

Step 4 – Once you click OK, the file(s) will now appear under the list of files “Checked out to me”.

checked out files no version

Step 5 – Go into the library and find the file.

Require Check Out On

Step 6 – Check the file back in.

check file in

Step 7 – Add a checked in comment.

Step 8 – The file will now be visible to everyone.

Note: You will need “owner” level permissions (i.e. Design or Full Control) in the SharePoint Library to perform these steps listed above.

SharePoint Essentials Toolkit to report on ALL Files with no Checked In State

If you need to report on all of the files and their locations for every user which have no checked in state, you can use the SharePoint Essentials Toolkit Item Query report to do this.

Do you use SharePoint? Try our toolkit
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Chris Ang

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