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New Contributor

Two people editing the same document at the same time

Both are collaborators but I don't want them to be able to edit at the same time.  Is it possible to prevent a 2nd person from editing when the file is in use by another user? For example - in excel, it will only open a "read only" copy

Trusted Contributor

Re: Two people editing the same document at the same time

New Contributor

Re: Two people editing the same document at the same time

Is there a way to lock the file from the box sync folder on my computer?? Or only from box.com?

Box Employee

Re: Two people editing the same document at the same time

Hey there @joyk

 

Thanks for the follow-up question! Yes, you can lock a file directly from your Box Sync folder -- simply right-click the file (if you're on a PC) and select "Lock File" from the Box Sync menu:

 

sync lock file.png

 

Hope that helps!

Box Employee

Re: Two people editing the same document at the same time

@joyk - The right click -> lock trick that @murlsmith mentioned works in Box Sync on Macs as well!

 

Lock File - Box Sync - Mac

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New Contributor

Re: Two people editing the same document at the same time

Hi...

 

Surely this isn't quite the functionality that @joyk is looking for? It's not what I've been looking for!

 

The problem is this--no matter who lock the file, still everyone with access to the file is able unlock it! So, changes will be lost if you unlock my file and upload your new version before I finish!

 

I need a way to ensure that my document is "checked out" so that no-one can modify it while I'm working on it. Is there no way to do this in Box??

Box Employee

Re: Two people editing the same document at the same time

@joel-s - You're correct; any Viewer Uploader, Editor, or Owner/Co-Owner can unlock files within a folder, regardless of whether they were the user who locked the file or not. The logic behind that behavior is that we (Box) don't want Box to be a barrier to getting work done in the event, say, a user locks a file and then forgets to unlock and is out of office for 2 weeks. 

 

There are 2 things I'd suggest:

  1. Set a best practice among your teammates to respect when files are locked by others -- don't unlock files without confirming with the user who locked it originally. Essentially leveraging a best practice (or shared 'norm') among your team instead of a technical control.
  2. Alternately, you're able to avoid locking whatsoever when using the Office Online integration with Box as it allows for real-time coauthoring, meaning multiple people can be working and editing a Word, Excel, or PowerPoint file and you can see each other's edits real-time. 

Hope that insight helps!

First-time Contributor

Re: Two people editing the same document at the same time

@Brad - I agree that it would be nice for other users to be able to unlock files, with the following caveats: 

  1. Box gives the unlocking user a warning if they are breaking someone else's lock (currently, Box Online issues such a warning, but Box Sync does not).
  2. The unlock function works properly. Currently, if User A locks a file, and then User B unlocks it, Box says that the file is unlocked. However, different users cannot view each other's changes.
    1. The only solution we've found to this problem is to save the file as a new document, and delete the old one, since the old one will no longer sync after having been locked and unlocked by different users.
First-time Contributor

Re: Two people editing the same document at the same time

 
First-time Contributor

Re: Two people editing the same document at the same time

Is this anything that will ever be changed?  Currently 3 of us all use a couple of spreadsheets every day, and have them open all day long (the information in the spreadsheets are needed for our job, basically a list of groups of items to send and where to send them).

 

If any of us receive word that someone's contact information or items change we make a change in the spreadsheet.  'Sometimes' it saves over the file and the next time someone opens that file it will be the updated version.  Other times it creates a new file with the (auto save user name) thing after the file name.  So we don't end up with 5-10 different documents and not knowing which information was updated in each of the files each day, will it being 'read-only' when we open it ever be an option?  This would prevent any of us from thinking it's safe to save the file.

 

Excel Online is not an option because of the limited functionality (no macros), and filtering affecting all users in it at the same time.  We're just looking for a solution so we don't have to keep deleting and updating the main spreadsheet.

New Contributor

Re: Two people editing the same document at the same time

But at the end of the day, we're human and we do no doubt unlock without checking. If everyone has a permission role that can unlock it really does defeat the object of locking, it is like a straw fence...

An alternative would be to not allow unlocking of other users files and creating a new permission group, say 'Senior Editor'. Where companies can assign multiple people to have the authority to unlock files in a workspace without having full blown owner permissions. 

In the company I work for, everyone uses box and the unlocking is something that we really feel could be reviewed to be made better. autolocking functionality across all box platforms like Sync as well as not allowing people to unlock other users files when grouped to a particular permission group are the top requested features for us.

We understand the whole 'someone locks and leaves for 4 months' thing, but really its a simple obstacle to overcome if we don't allow basic editors to unlock but allow senior editors to do so.