Overcoming the ‘Override Check Out’ SharePoint Blues

In response to an older post of mine, Best Practices for your SharePoint Document Library: Require Check Out, I recently received a comment specifically regarding the Override Check Out feature.

The question, as posed by mlotfe, asked:

"I've seen that when I check out a document, other users may discard this check out. Is there any way to prevent this?"

I did a little poking around on my own, but feeling the pressure of (mounting) other responsibilities, ended up throwing a "Hail Mary" to the Patron Saint of SharePoint Blank, Jeff Kozloff himself, in the hopes of a speedy resolution to mlotfe's query.  As is usually the case, Jeff came through in spades, so I'm just going to turn it over to the Man himself.  Take it away, Jeff…

"This [behavior] is based on a specific right within the Permission Levels called Override Check Out.  In a default Team Site deployment (in SharePoint 2010), there is a default set of Permission Levels that exist:

 SharePoint 2010 Permission Level Description


By default, any Permission Level below Design does not possess the right to Override Check Out.  As you can see below, the Design level has the ability to Override Check Out by default:

SharePoint 2010 Design Permissions 

At the Contribute level, one Permission Level down from Design, however, the Override Check Out feature is not turned on by default:

 SharePoint 2010 Contribute Permissions

The default SharePoint Groups are associated with the following Permission Levels:

 SharePoint 2010 Group Permissions


Notice that if a user is a member of the [Site Name] Owners group, they are associated with the Permission Level Full Control, thus allowing them to override checkouts.  So my recommendation is that the user should review their groups and see what Permission Levels are associated with their groups, and maybe even create custom permission levels that will match their needs more closely."

Thanks for clearing that up, Jeff! 

Please note that while Jeff's response specifically addresses the Override Check Out issue in SharePoint 2010, I'd be willing to bet that the solution is extremely similar (if not identical) in SharePoint 2007.

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