What is check-out / check-in?

Check-out is an action that creates a draft version of an AODocs document. A subset of users can update the draft. Other users can’t access the draft, but can access the main version of the document, in read-only. Check-in is an action that converts the draft into a new version of the document. The main version becomes a previous version.

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: Check out a document: create a draft version.

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.

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  • In the example above, let's say Bob needs to give Fred editing permission for collaboration on the draft (during step 2). Does Fred continue to have editing permission on the new version, once the document is checked in (step 5)?

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  • Hi Jmaher,
    Apologies for the late reply. You'd have to give Fred edit access to the document before check out to be able to give him edit access to the draft version.
    Hope that helps.

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  • Is there a workflow behind the approval of the supervisor? Or how does this work when you use the check-in / check-out?

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  • If you use the standard check-out/check-in there is no particular approval step apart from the manual check-in.
    If you need to add an approval step (or several) you can do this within a workflow:
    https://support.aodocs.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/115019178603-Configure-a-simple-publication-workflow (Check out this post ;) ;) )

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  • Thanks Thibault :)

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  • Is there a way to see the check-in / check-out history?

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  • You can see the history of check-out/check-in in the document history:

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  • Hi. Can you help me? Tell me please. In my system, the document must go through several checks for approval, and after each of them, in case of failure, the document must be sent to the author for revision. How to make sure that if the document passes all the checks except the last one, then after the document has been returned for revision to the author, the document does not go through all the checks again.

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  • From what you describe Tatiana, using only Workflow states and transitions you will not be able to achieve your desired setup without using custom scripts. I've redirected your request to your Customer Success Manager, who will soon be in touch.

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