After all the recent permissions issues it was nice to get a Document Management case for a change.
The issue was: “Every time I edit a document and save it, it is checked out and we need to check it in again and add the metadata. We have not set mandatory check-out in this library – what is going wrong?”.
I put on my SharePoint Holmes paraphernalia and set out to solve yet another case. Or so I hoped 🙂
- I looked at the recently edited document. Indeed, the document was checked out with the yellow box where the metadata should have been.
- I checked the Library Settings. Set to modern view, to open documents in the Client application, indeed no check out required. The “Topic” field needed a value.
- I uploaded another document and edited it without any issues – the document stayed checked in and retained the metadata. I edited the properties, no problem.
- I selected the checked-out document to view the properties. I quickly scrolled down the details pane to see the metadata. Yes, no topic selected, as expected.
- I Googled on the check-out issue as I had no clue what happened here.
The solutions all pointed to something with “metadata” so I selected the document again to have a closer look at the metadata, and hoped that permissions and edit history would provide some extra clues.
- Someone called me on Skype so I left the details pane open without scrolling down.
- When I came back from my call, the answer stared me in the face.
I had seen this “No preview” message before on a password-protected Excel file. The owner confirmed this.
After some searching I came across several posts describing this behaviour. Apparently, SharePoint does not only respect the content of a password-protected document, but also the metadata. Hence, you have to re-add the metadata after each edit.
A request to change this behaviour has been submitted to Office 365 User Voice.
I discussed with the owner whether password protection was really needed as SharePoint has its own protection. As it turned out, the people who had the password were the same people who had access to the document and the document library, so she decided to remove the password.
I also checked what happens if this would have been a document library that opens documents in the Online version.
First, you get a warning message:
After editing in the client, you have the same result in the document library: the document is checked out and has missing metadata.
Another reason not to use password-protected documents in SharePoint!
Image courtesy of Simon Howden at FreeDigitalPhotos.net