Check-out / check-in is an AODocs feature which allows users to lock a document for editing without changing what other users see until the user making the changes releases the document.
When a user checks out a document, a new temporary version of the document is created: this is the draft version. The draft is accessible only to the user who performs the check-out operation, but this user can also authorize other users to access the draft version.
Learn more: Create a draft version of a document.
Users who aren't authorized to view the draft version continue to see the main version of the document. This means that they don't see the on-going modifications in the draft version.
Example of check-out / check-in
Let’s say that Bob and Alice are two contributors on a document. Other library users have read only access to the document.
Bob wants to modify the document. He doesn't want other users to see the modifications he is making to the document until they are validated by his supervisor, so he uses the check-out / check-in feature.
1. Bob checks out the document. A draft version of the document is created, so two versions of the document coexist: the draft and the main version.
2. The draft is private. Only Bob and the library administrators can view and edit it. In this version, Bob can modify all the data in the document, including its workflow state, properties and attachments, without affecting the main version. Other users don't see his modifications.
3. When Bob finishes his modifications, he shares the draft version with Alice and his supervisor.
4. If the supervisor approves the modifications, Bob can check in the document.
If the supervisor rejects the modifications, Bob can continue to edit the draft version. If Bob cancels the check-out, the draft version is discarded, leaving only the main version.
5. The draft version becomes the new main version of the document.