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SharePoint document libraries are a great place to store and share documents, but they are also an excellent place to work on the documents themselves without needing a local copy on your computer. Think of a SharePoint library as a really smart I: drive.
This article covers the basics of using a library for editing docments in it. The article does not deal with how to create a SharePoint library. Here's what's covered:
Your computer must be using the following software to successfully edit Office documents in SharePoint:
  • One of:
    • Windows XP Professional Service Pack 3
    • Windows Vista Business or higher
    • Windows 7 Professional or higher
    • Internet Explorer 8 or higher (with its Trusted Sites set up for SharePoint)
  • Office 2007 or higher
Your computer also needs to have either a connection to the network with the SharePoint server (UofL network) or an Internet connection for accessing the SharePoint server.
Remember to relax and realize that you really can't mess anything up. Not even the document you're editing since most libraries you'll encounter are set up to save the last 20 versions of each document.
And finally, you have to be in SharePoint and signed in!
To open a document for editing in SharePoint, do the following:
  1. Navigate to the SharePoint document library that has the document you want to edit. A good way to find the library is to search for it using the All SPHIS search at the top of a SharePoint window. If you can't find the library, you likely don't have permission to edit anything in it. If so, contact a SharePoint administrator for help.
  2. Locate the library column titled Name, which is usually present if the library is generally available for editing. (Name is the filename of the document but without its extension, e.g., .docx. You can tell the document type from the icon at the far left of a document's listing.)

If there is no Name column, see No Name column in library view under Troubleshooting.

  1. Hover your cursor over the filename in the Name column for the document you want to edit. This highlights the name as a box. Click the down-arrow to open the Edit Menu.

  1. Click Edit in Microsoft Office Word (or Excel or other Office application) to open for editing.

Note: It's always a good practice to save your work every so often; see Saving an edited Office document in SharePoint.

How to make sure a document is opened for editing

The top bar of the Word (or Excel or other Office application) does NOT include (Read-Only), for example the following but NOT the one after it.

Opened for Editing

Opened for Read-Only

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Saving an edited Office document in SharePoint

Click the Save icon in the top bar.

A Save Progress window appears to show you that your document is being saved.

Once your document is saved, you can exit the Office application or continue editing.

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Setting up your computer for remote editing

Windows and Internet Explorer are aggressive in protecting your computer. Below are two fixes that make your computer play nicely with SharePoint.

Set up Trusted Sites in Internet Explorer to include SharePoint

Apply this fix to Internet Explorer regardless of its version or the Windows operating system (e.g., XP or Win7).

  1. In Menu Bar, click Tools > Internet Options > Security > Trusted sites > Sites.
  2. If Require server verification (https:) … is checked, click the box to uncheck it.

  1. Type in these four sites clicking Add after each one:

  1. Click the box for Require server verification (https:) … to set it as checked.
  2. The dialog box should look like this (there may be other URLs in the list; that's OK):

  3. Click Close then OK.

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Error trying to open for editing

No Name column in library view

If you don't see a Name column, there are three possible reasons:

  1. You're looking at a library embedded in a web page. This is easily determined by looking at the page you're on: if the main part of the page has more on it than just the library, you're not in the library itself. For example, the following page has an embedded library called Active Change Proposals (circled in red) along with several other parts.

To get to the actual library, click its name on the page in which it's embedded.

  1. You're on a view of the library that doesn't include a Name column. For example, the following:

To see if there's a view that you can use to edit, click the View field (circled in red), which opens up a list of all views:

Maintenance view is usually a good bet:

  1. The library's documents are not generally available for editing.

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