How to Make “Hidden Files” with No Checked in Version Visible in a SharePoint Library

In a SharePoint Library that has “Required Check Out” turned on in the Library’s Versioning Settings, there is a risk that brand new files that are uploaded to the library will be hidden from other people’s view.


The user who uploads the file has to know that they need to check in the file to make it visible to their peers.


Some of you may think that having a file hidden from other’s view is a great thing, especially if you’re not ready for others to see it… BUT if someone else tries to upload a file with the exact same file name, they are going to get a vague warning message that looks like this:


Unless you’re a seasoned SharePoint veteran who’s seen this issue before, you’ll likely have to phone Help Desk for assistance. Fortunately my colleague Bruce Smith, author of seek Blog, recently assisted a client who was experiencing this very issue, and shared how he was able to resolve the issue with me.

Here’s how to make the hidden file visible again:

  1. Go into the Library Settings. Under the Permissions and Management heading, click on “Manage files which have no checked in version”.
  2. Find file that is “checked out to others”. Check the box beside the file and select “Take Ownership of Selection.”
  3. Press Ok in the”Are you sure you want to take ownership of [file name]?” popup.
  4. The file will now appear under the list of files “Checked out to me”.
  5. Go into the library and find the file.
  6. Check the file back in.
  7. Add a checked in comment.
  8. The file will now be visible to everyone.

Reminder: You will have to have “owner” level permissions (i.e. Design or Full Control) in the Library to be able perform the steps listed above.

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9 responses to “How to Make “Hidden Files” with No Checked in Version Visible in a SharePoint Library

  1. any idea how to check-in or undo check-out using powershell. Our team is migrating data from Q to P, now I wrote the script to delete all documents but these files are checked-in and now even powershell can’t delete or undo checkout these files.

    1. Hi Chintan,
      That sounds like a frustrating situation. I don’t have a Powershell solution, unfortunately. The challenge is if you use the discard checkout button all changes made to the file while it was checked out will be discarded aka deleted. Make sure whatever solution you find checks the files (and the changes) back in. Hope that helps.

  2. Hi, Do you have any “how to” create a view which will do the same thing as “Manage files which have no checked in version”. Threshold on my site is over the limit and this is blocking me from using this link and the view for files with no checked in version.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Pawel,
      I do not have a how to blog post about how to create this view that mimics the “Manage files which have no checked in version” Library setting.
      My colleague at itgroove have solutions for libraries with threshold limit issues – I’d suggest teaching out to one of the SharePoint consultants that specialize in this area at:

  3. But how do you call this document version?

    It’s not minor (draft (0,1))version yet, it’s not a major 1.0 version. So it’s a???

    “File which has no checked in version”-version?

  4. I have a list with many hidden files, yet none of them are checked out. Now I’m completely lost 🙁

  5. I would suggest you to try our tool DMS-Shuttle for SharePoint. It can bulk check-in files in SahrePoint (on folder, library or site level). The tool provides the user the ability to export a list of all checked-out files from a library or site. There is a free trial version: http.//

  6. I was today years old when I learned of this absolutely asinine Sharepoint situation and decided to move my entire file structure to QNAP because I would rather have to clean up ransomware 3 times a year than have to check in hundreds of thousands of files manually.

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