Requirements Tools: Sharepoint

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Like many companies, ArgonDigital uses Microsoft Sharepoint to store and share our documents. We use Sharepoint as our “one source of truth” to make sure that we’re all working off the most recent versions of documents, to avoid having to reconcile changes later. This might be seem obvious to people working in software requirements, but I’ve seen and heard horror stories about people e-mailing document updates back and forth, and days of work having to be redone because someone lost track of the most recent version.

We recently migrated our documents over to a new version of Sharepoint, which essentially meant copying and pasting tens of thousand of documents. It took a while because of all the uploading, but since I could do other work while waiting for uploads to finish, it wasn’t too disruptive. After we finished, someone noticed a problem: every document I had uploaded was “checked out” to me. On Sharepoint, in order to avoid multiple people making changes in a document at the same time, you can “check out” the document, which locks it to other users. In other words, I was the only one who could edit all of our documents, which incidentally defeated the purpose of a shared drive to begin with.

Fortunately, I could simply check each of the documents back in, allowing everyone to access them normally. Unfortunately, we only knew how to do that for one file at a time, which meant manually checking in all those tens of thousands of documents – a pretty grim prospect. After some searching and experimenting, I found a way to check-in Sharepoint files in bulk.

First, navigate in Sharepoint to the folder containing the files checked out to you. Click on the Settings wheel in the upper-right corner, and go to Site Settings.

Site settings

Then go to Content and Structure.

Content and structure

The view should be set to Default View. Change that to Checked Out To Me. You will be able to see all files checked out to you, and can select any or all of them…

Checked out to me

You can then use the Actions menu to manipulate them.

Check in

Be careful not to accidentally delete all of them! If you need to look at files in a different folder, just use the folder tree to the left to navigate wherever the files are located. You can also use this trick to make sure there’s nothing checked out to you – sometimes people shut down their computer and forget to check the file in.

That’s it – pretty simple, but it saved me several potential days’ worth of manual work. Feel free to share any file or versioning tricks you guys have learned in the comments – we always like to hear how other people deal with these problems!

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