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 can only be accessed by the user who has checked out the document as well as the other users that he/she has given authorization to.
Learn more here: Create a draft version on a document
The users who are not authorized to see the draft version will continue to see the “current” version of the document. This means that they will not see the on-going modifications on the “draft” version.
Let’s say that Bob and Alice are two contributors on a document. Other library users have read-only access on the document.
Now Bob wants to modify it. As he does not want the other users to see the modifications he is making on the document until they are validated by his supervisor, he uses the check-out / check-in feature.
First, Bob checks-out the document. By this action, a second version of the document is created and two versions of the document coexist, the “draft” and the “current”version.
The “draft” is private and can be seen and edited only by Bob and administrators. In this version, Bob can modify all the data on the document, including its workflow state, its properties and its attachments, without affecting the “current” version: the other users do not see the modifications.
Once Bob finishes his modifications, he can share the private version with Alice and/or his supervisor.
Granting access to the draft version to Alice and the supervisor
If the supervisor approves the modifications, then Bob can check in the document. The “draft” version becomes the new version of the document.
If the supervisor rejects the modifications, then Bob can continue to edit the draft version. If Bob cancels the check-out, the “draft” version will be discarded, leaving only the “current” version.