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Plan versioning, content approval, and check-outs

Updated: February 26, 2009

Applies To: Office SharePoint Server 2007

Updated: 2009-02-26

In this article:

Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 includes features that can help you control access to content. You configure settings for the content control features discussed in this article in document libraries. To share these settings across libraries in your solution, you can create document library templates that include your content control settings; this ensures that new libraries will reflect your content control decisions.

Plan versioning

Versioning is the method by which successive iterations of a document are numbered and saved. Office SharePoint Server 2007 has three versioning options:

  • None   Specifies that no previous versions of documents are saved. When no versioning is in use, previous versions of documents are not retrievable, and document history is also lost because comments that accompany each iteration of a document are not saved. Use this option on document libraries containing unimportant content or content that will never change.

  • Major versions only   Specifies that numbered versions of documents are retained using a simple versioning scheme (such as 1, 2, 3). To control the effect on storage space, you can specify how many previous versions to keep, counting back from the current version.

    In major versioning, each time a new version of a document is saved, all users with permissions to the document library will be able to view the content. Use this option when you do not want to differentiate between draft versions of documents and published versions. For example, in a document library that is used by a workgroup in an organization, major versioning is a good choice if everyone on the team needs to be able to view all iterations of each document.

  • Major and minor versions   Specifies that numbered versions of documents are retained by using a major and minor versioning scheme (such as 1.0, 1.1, 1.2, 2.0, 2.1). Versions ending with .0 are major versions and versions ending with non-zero extensions are minor versions. Previous major and minor versions of documents are saved along with current versions. To control the effect on storage space, you can specify how many previous major versions to keep, counting back from the current version. You can also specify for how many major versions minor versions should be kept. For example, if you specify that minor versions should be kept for two major versions and the current major version is 4.0, then all minor versions starting at 3.1 will be kept.

    In major and minor versioning, any user with read permissions can view major versions of documents. You can specify which users can view minor versions. Typically, grant users who can edit items permissions to view and work with minor versions, and restrict users with read permissions to viewing only major versions.

    Use major and minor versioning when you want to differentiate between published content that can be viewed by an audience and draft content that is not yet ready for publication. For example, on a human resources Web site that describes organizational benefits, use major and minor versioning to restrict employees' access to benefits descriptions while the descriptions are being revised.

Worksheet action

In the Document libraries worksheet (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=73306&clcid=0x409), for each document library listed, specify the versioning scheme to use: none, major, or major and minor.

Plan content approval

Content approval is the method by which site members with approver permissions control the publication of content. A document draft awaiting content approval is in the Pending state. When an approver reviews the document and approves the content, it becomes available for viewing by site users with read permissions. A document library owner can enable content approval for a document library and can optionally associate a workflow with the library to run the approval process.

Use content approval to formalize and control the process of making content available to an audience. For example, an enterprise that publishes content as one of its products or services might require a legal review and approval before publishing the content.

The way that documents are submitted for approval varies depending on the versioning settings in the document library:

  • None   If no versioning is in use and changes to a document are saved, the document's state becomes Pending. Office SharePoint Server 2007 keeps the previous version of the document so users with read permissions can still view it. After the pending changes have been approved, the new version of the document is made available for viewing by users with read permissions and the previous version is discarded.

    If no versioning is in use and a new document is uploaded to the document library, it is added to the library in the Pending state and is not viewable by users with read permissions until it is approved.

  • Major versions only   If major versioning is in use and changes to a document are saved, the document's state becomes Pending and the previous major version of the document is made available for viewing by users with read permissions. After the changes to the document are approved, a new major version of the document is created and made available to site users with read permissions, and the previous version is saved to the document's history list.

    If major versioning is in use and a new document is uploaded to the document library, it is added to the library in the Pending state and is not viewable by users with read permissions until it is approved as version 1.

  • Major and minor versions   If major and minor versioning is in use and changes to a document are saved, the author has the choice of saving a new minor version of the document as a draft or creating a new major version, which changes the document's state to Pending. After the changes to the document are approved, a new major version of the document is created and made available to site users with read permissions. In major and minor versioning, both major and minor versions of documents are kept in a document's history list.

    If major and minor versioning is in use and a new document is uploaded to the document library, it can be added to the library in the Draft state as version 0.1, or the author can immediately request approval in which case the document's state becomes Pending.

Worksheet action

In the Document libraries worksheet (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=73306&clcid=0x409), specify whether or not to require content approval for each document library listed.

Plan check-in and check-out

You can require that users check documents in and out of a document library before editing the documents. It is always recommended to do this. The benefits of requiring checking in and out include:

  • Better control of when document versions are created. When a document is checked out, the author can save the document without checking it in. Other users of the document library will not be able to see these changes and a new version is not created. A new version (visible to other users) is only created when an author checks in a document. This gives the author more flexibility and control.

  • Better capture of metadata. When a document is checked in, the author can write comments that describe the changes made to the document. This promotes creation of an ongoing historical record of the changes made to the document.

If your solution requires that users check documents in and out when editing them, the 2007 Microsoft Office system client programs include features that support these actions. Users can check documents out, undo check-outs, and check documents in from 2007 Office system client programs.

When a document is checked out, it is saved in the user's My Documents folder in a subfolder named "SharePoint Drafts." This folder is displayed in Microsoft Office Outlook 2007. As long as the document is checked out, the user can only save edits to this local folder. When the user is ready to check the document in, the document is saved back to the original server location.

From 2007 Office system client programs, users can optionally choose to leave checked-out documents on the server by changing content editing options.

Worksheet action

In the Document libraries worksheet (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=73306&clcid=0x409), specify whether or not to require check-in and check-out for each document library listed.

Worksheet

Use the following worksheet to help you plan versioning, content approval, and check-outs:

Download this book

This topic is included in the following downloadable book for easier reading and printing:

See the full list of available books at Downloadable content for Office SharePoint Server 2007.

See Also

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