Error message: The file is checked out or locked for editing by another user
Applicable browsers: Any browser

Description

If you try to edit a document that either has been checked out to someone else, or if the document that you try to edit does not have support for coauthoring and someone else is editing it, you will get this error message:
The file is checked out or locked for editing by another user
You will also get the same error message if you try to:

  1. edit the document’s metadata
  2. delete the document
  3. publish/unpublish the document
  4. move the document

This is an expected behavior and before you can edit the document, the other user first needs to release it/check it in.

In some situations, this can however occur when the “other user” is you. It could be because you have the document open for editing in another application. If so, close this application and try again.

This can however happen even if you don’t have the document open in another application. It normally happens when you close a document and the Office application does not release the information that the document is open for editing. SharePoint will sooner or later release this lock, so if you have patience, just wait for a few minutes.

Solution/workaround, when the other user is you

If this happens often, for a specific user, there could be some issues with the user’s Office application. Some things that can be tested, to force the file’s lock to be released are:

  • Logout from MetaShare/SharePoint and login again.
  • Open the document in the Online app and rename the file from there.
  • Check if “Upload Center” has locked this document. If so, you can unlock it from there.
  • Try to delete it and if it gets deleted, then restore it back from the recycle bin.
  • Check if there are any documents without a checked in version (this required you to log into the site with administrative permissions).
    • Go to: Library settings > Manage files which have no checked in version

Expected fix

This is a known SharePoint issue and there are many articles about this issue, e.g. this one: Cannot Release Lock on SharePoint Online File. We hope Microsoft will release a fix for it soon.