Open or check out a SharePoint-based file from within an Office app

You can open or check out a file from a SharePoint library from within your Microsoft Office program. After you open a file from the library, a shortcut to the SharePoint site that contains the library is created in the SharePoint Sites folder in your favorites list in Windows Explorer. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint also keep a link to that SharePoint location under Recent Places that you see after you click the File tab.

Open an Office file

  1. In your app, select File > Open.

  2. On the left, under the Open heading, select the  The SharePoint icon.  entry in the list.

    A scrollable list of SharePoint document libraries that you're connected to appears. 

  3. Select the document library that contains the file you want to open.

  4. Select the file you want to open.

    You're ready to edit the file.

  5. (Optional) If the document library requires that the file be checked out in order to edit it, a yellow bar appears near the top of the window indicating that check-out is necessary. Just select Check Out to proceed:

    The yellow bar has a button to make it easy to check out the file for editing.

Check out an open file for exclusive editing

By default, when you open a file from a SharePoint document library, it is a co-authoring situation. Other people may open the file at the same time as you to contribute to it. That is fine in many cases, but at times it may be best to check out the file so only you can edit it. 

When you check out a file, you are the only person who can change it. This reduces the potential for confusion and conflicting edits.

After you make changes to a file, you must check in the file so that other people can see your changes when they open the file.

  1. With the file open in the app, select File > Info.

  2. Select Manage ... > Check Out

    If the Check Out option is grayed out, it means that someone else currently has the file open for editing. You can co-author with them, but you can't check out the file for exclusive editing while someone else has the file open.

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Open an Office file

Check out an Office file you have already opened

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Open an Office file

Note: This procedure assumes that you have already opened at least one Office file from a SharePoint site, or that a shortcut has been added to the SharePoint Sites folder in your favorites list in Windows Explorer by using SharePoint. For more information on opening files directly from a SharePoint library and using the Connect to Office command on the SharePoint library library ribbon, see the SharePoint Help system.

To open an Office file from a previously accessed SharePoint site

  1. Click the File tab.

  2. Click Open.

  3. Under Favorites, click SharePoint Sites.

  4. Click the SharePoint site where your file is located, and then click Open.

    If you don’t see your server in SharePoint Sites, type the URL for the SharePoint site in the File Name box.

  5. Click the name of the library that contains the file, such as Shared Documents, and then click Open.

  6. Click the name of the file that you want to open and then click Open.

    If you do not want to make changes to the file, you can open it as read-only. Click the arrow on the Open button, and then click Open Read Only.

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Check out an Office file you have already opened

If multiple people work on the same files, you may want to check out files after you have opened them and before you work on them. When you check out a file, you are the only person who can change it while it is checked out to you. This reduces the potential for confusion and conflicting edits.

After you make changes to a file, you must check in the file before other people can see your changes when they view or edit the file.

To check out a file while it is open in an Office program, use the following steps. You can also check out a file from the library on the SharePoint site. For more information on checking out files, see the SharePoint Help system.

To check out a file fromSharePoint that you have already opened

  1. Click the File tab.

  2. Click Info.

  3. Click Manage Versions.

  4. Click Check Out.

    If your library requires checking out, a Check Out command appears on the Message Bar when you open a file from your Office program.

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