“Locked for editing” warnings with Office documents in SharePoint

When opening documents from a Document Library by using the drop-down menu (e.g. “Edit in Microsoft Office Word“), I’ve received the occasional warning that says:

FileName is locked for editing by ‘another user’.

Do you want to:

Open a Read Only copy
Create a local copy and merge your changes later
Receive notification when the original copy is available

This happens even though I am the user who previously opened the document.  Although there’s a Knowledge Base article (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/899709/en-us) that says to simply wait another 10 minutes to release the document lock on the server, I’ve seen this message occur again an hour later, even after rebooting the computer.  I had previously selected the “Receive notification when the original copy is available“ option, and decided to choose that option again to keep the process alive.  So I then thought that there must be some kind of action that could force an unlock.  Lo and behold, as soon as I selected “Check In“ from the drop-down in the library, Word popped up the “<document name> is now available for editing“ dialog – BEFORE I selected a check-in choice from the three available on the Check In page!  I’m definitely going to remember that trick in the future, and I hope it will still work before the 10 minute lock down expires as well.

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Eric Legault

Full-stack product builder & consultant for Microsoft 365 & Graph. Microsoft MVP 2003 - 2019. Outlook add-in guru. Rocker. Video/audio engineer. Collects Thors.

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