Use a screen reader to check out or check in files in a document library in SharePoint Online

Use a screen reader to check out or check in files in a document library in SharePoint Online

Read out loud symbol with the label Screen reader content. This topic is about using a screen reader with Office

This article is for people with visual impairments who use a screen reader program with the Office products and is part of the Office Accessibility content set. For more general help, see Office Support home.

Use SharePoint with your keyboard and a screen reader to check out and check in files in a document library. We have tested it with Narrator and JAWS, but it might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques. When you check out a file, you can edit it online or offline, and save it as many times as you need to, but others can’t edit it. When you check in the file, your changes become visible to the team, and the file is available for others to check out and edit as their permissions allow.

Notes: 

  • New Microsoft 365 features are released gradually to Microsoft 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • To learn more about screen readers, go to How screen readers work with Microsoft Office.

  • When you use SharePoint, we recommend that you use Microsoft Edge as your web browser. Because SharePoint runs in your web browser, the keyboard shortcuts are different from those in the desktop program. For example, you’ll use Ctrl+F6 instead of F6 for jumping in and out of the commands. Also, common shortcuts like F1 (Help) and Ctrl+O (Open) apply to the web browser – not SharePoint.

In this topic

Check out a file from the document library

  1. Sign in to your organization’s Microsoft 365 account, start the SharePoint app, and then open your document library.

    Tip: Document libraries in SharePoint Online have two different views: classic and SharePoint experience. For most people, SharePoint experience is the default. However, if you hear “Check it out button” when navigating your document library, you’re using the classic experience. To view SharePoint document libraries, when you hear “Check it out button,” press Enter. After the view of your document library changes to the SharePoint experience and the focus moves from the Check it out button to the New link, you hear the name of your document library, followed by “New.”

  2. To move to the list of folders and files, press the Tab key until you hear: “Table, list of folders, files, or items.”

  3. To move through the list and select the file you want to check out and edit, use the Up and Down arrow keys. If the file you need is in a subfolder, select the folder, and then press Enter. Press the Tab key until you hear "Table, list of folders, files, or items," and then, to select the file, use the Up and Down arrow keys.

  4. To move to the menu bar, press Shift+Tab until you hear: “Command bar.”

  5. Press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear "Other things you can do with the selected item," and then press Enter.

  6. To check out the file, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Check out," and then press Enter. The selected file is checked out to you, and the file is marked accordingly.

Note: If others on the team try to edit or check out the file, they are notified that the file is checked out to you. They can still view the file, but the changes you’re making are not visible to them until after you check in the file.

Open the checked-out file for editing

When you check out a file, it is marked as checked out and is locked from editing to others. You can now open or download and then edit the file.

  1. After you check out a file, the focus is on the menu bar. To move to the checked-out file, press the Tab key until you hear the name of the file.

  2. If the focus isn’t on the right file, press the Tab key until you hear a file name, and then press the Up and Down arrow keys until you hear the right file. To open the file, press Enter. The file opens in a separate tab on your browser, and you can now make changes. If it’s an Microsoft 365 document, the file opens in the appropriate application (such as Word for the web or Excel for the web).

    Tip: If you prefer to open the file in your desktop application, press Shift+Tab until you hear: “Command bar.” Press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear "Open," and then press Enter. Press the Down arrow key until you hear the application you want to open the file with, and then press Enter.

Check in a file to the document library

  1. In SharePoint, navigate to your document library.

  2. To move to the list of folders and files, press the Tab key until you hear: “Table, list of folders, files, or items.”

  3. To move through the list and select the file you want to check in, use the Up and Down arrow keys. If the file is in a subfolder, select the folder, and then press Enter. Press the Tab key until you hear "Table, list of folders, files, or items," and then, to select the file, use the Up and Down arrow keys.

  4. To move to the menu bar, press Shift+Tab until you hear: “Command bar.”

  5. Press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear "Other things you can do with the selected item," and then press Enter.

  6. To check in the file, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Check in," and then press Enter.

    The Check In dialog appears.

  7. In the Check In dialog, type a comment summarizing the changes you made. Check-in comments are especially helpful when several people work on a file. The comments become part of the document’s version history, which can be important if you ever need to restore the document to an earlier version.

  8. Press the Tab key until you hear "Check in," and then press Enter. The version of the file you edited replaces the version in the document library and is checked in. Others can now view the changes you made, and if they have permission to do so, they can check out the file and edit it themselves.

Discard your checked-out changes

If you decide not to make or keep any changes in the file, you can discard your check out, which does not affect the version history.

  1. In SharePoint, navigate to your document library.

  2. To move to the list of folders and files, press the Tab key until you hear: “Table, list of folders, files, or items.”

  3. To move through the list and select the file you want to discard the check out from, use the Up and Down arrow keys. If the file is in a subfolder, select the folder, and then press Enter. Press the Tab key until you hear "Table, list of folders, files, or items," and then, to select the file, use the Up and Down arrow keys.

  4. To move to the menu bar, press Shift+Tab until you hear: “Command bar.”

  5. Press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear "Other things you can do with the selected item," and then press Enter.

  6. To discard your check out, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Discard check out," and then press Enter.

    A confirmation dialog appears.

  7. If you’re certain that you want to discard the changes you have made to the file, press the Tab key until you hear "Yes," and then press Enter. Any changes you made to the document are discarded and the file remains unchanged as it was when you checked it out. Others can now check out the file and edit it themselves, if they have permission to do so.

See also

Use a screen reader to upload files to a document library in SharePoint Online

Use a screen reader to create a new document in a document library in SharePoint Online

Keyboard shortcuts in SharePoint Online

Basic tasks using a screen reader with SharePoint Online

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate SharePoint Online

Use SharePoint with your keyboard and a screen reader to check out and check in files in a document library. We have tested it with Narrator and JAWS, but it might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques. You'll also learn how to open the checked out file for editing or discard the changes you made to a checked out file.

Notes: 

  • New Microsoft 365 features are released gradually to Microsoft 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • To learn more about screen readers, go to How screen readers work with Microsoft Office.

  • When you use SharePoint, we recommend that you use Microsoft Edge as your web browser. Because SharePoint runs in your web browser, the keyboard shortcuts are different from those in the desktop program. For example, you’ll use Ctrl+F6 instead of F6 for jumping in and out of the commands. Also, common shortcuts like F1 (Help) and Ctrl+O (Open) apply to the web browser – not SharePoint.

In this topic

Check out a file from the document library

When you check out a file, it's marked as checked out and is locked from editing to others.

If others try to edit or check out the file, they are notified that the file is checked out to you. They can still view the file, but the changes you’re making are not visible to them until you check in the file.

  1. Open the SharePoint document library you want to check out a file from.

  2. To move to the list of folders and files, press the Tab key until you hear: “Toggle selection for all items."

  3. Press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear the name of the file you want to check out.

  4. Once on the right document, press Shift+F10 to open the context menu.

  5. Press the Up arrow key until you hear "More, menu item," and press the Right arrow key to expand the menu.

  6. To check out the file, press the Up arrow key until you hear "Check out," and press Enter.

Open the checked out file for editing

Once you've checked out a file, you can edit it online or offline, and save it as many times as you need to, but others can’t edit it.

  1. Open the SharePoint document library where the checked out file is located.

  2. To move to the list of folders and files, press the Tab key until you hear: “Toggle selection for all items."

  3. Press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear the name of the checked out file.

  4. Once on the correct file, do one of the following:

    • To open the file in a separate tab on your browser, press Enter. If it’s an Microsoft 365 document, the file opens in the appropriate app such as Word for the web or Excel for the web.

    • To open the file in a desktop app, press Shift+F10. You hear: "Open, menu item." Press the Right arrow key to expand the menu. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Open in app," and press Enter.

Check in a file to the document library

When you check in the file, your changes become visible to the team, and the file is available for others to check out and edit as their permissions allow. The version of the file you edited and checked in replaces the version in the document library.

Tips: 

  • If you opened and edited the file in an Office for the web file, such as a Word for the web file, your changes have been saved automatically. If you opened the file in a desktop app, make sure you've saved your work before checking in the file.

  • You can also add check-in comments that can be helpful when several people work on a file. The comments become part of the document’s version history, which can be important if you ever need to restore the document to an earlier version.

  1. Open the SharePoint document library where the checked out file is located.

  2. To move to the list of folders and files, press the Tab key until you hear: “Toggle selection for all items."

  3. Press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear the name of the checked out file.

  4. Press Shift+F10 to open the context menu.

  5. Press the Up arrow key until you hear "More, menu item," and press the Right arrow key to expand the menu.

  6. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Check in," and press Enter. The Check In dialog box opens. The focus is on the Close button.

  7. To add an optional summary of the changes you made or a note that your colleagues might find useful, press the Tab key until you hear "Comment, edit," and then type your text.

  8. Press the Tab key until you hear "Check in," and press Enter.

    The file is checked in. Others can now view the changes you made, and if they have permission to do so, they can check out the file and edit it themselves.

Discard your checked out changes

If you decide not to make or keep any changes in the file you've checked out, you can discard the check out, which does not affect the version history.

Note: Once you've checked in the file, you can't discard the changes anymore.

  1. Open the SharePoint document library where the checked out file whose changes you want to discard is located.

  2. To move to the list of folders and files, press the Tab key until you hear: “Toggle selection for all items."

  3. Press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear the name of the checked out file.

  4. Press Shift+F10 to open the context menu.

  5. Press the Up arrow key until you hear "More, menu item," and press the Right arrow key to expand the menu.

  6. To discard the check out and remove your changes, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Discard check out," and press Enter. A confirmation dialog box appears.

  7. Press the Tab key until you hear "Yes," and press Enter.

    Any changes you made to the document are discarded and the file remains unchanged as it was when you checked it out. Others can now check out the file and edit it themselves, if they have permission to do so.

See also

Use a screen reader to upload files to a document library in SharePoint Online

Use a screen reader to create a new document in a document library in SharePoint Online

Keyboard shortcuts in SharePoint Online

Basic tasks using a screen reader with SharePoint Online

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate SharePoint Online

Technical support for customers with disabilities

Microsoft wants to provide the best possible experience for all our customers. If you have a disability or questions related to accessibility, please contact the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk for technical assistance. The Disability Answer Desk support team is trained in using many popular assistive technologies and can offer assistance in English, Spanish, French, and American Sign Language. Please go to the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk site to find out the contact details for your region.

If you are a government, commercial, or enterprise user, please contact the enterprise Disability Answer Desk.

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