The Lock Files feature in Autotask Workplace

This article has been created in response to queries from customers regarding the Autotask Workplace file locking mechanism and, specifically, to the occurrence of "duplicate files" in a Workplace folder. It explains the duplicate files issue, and provides links to further information regarding the Lock Files feature.

 

Autotask Workplace Lock Files feature

Workplace offers a file locking mechanism to avoid overwriting changes when multiple users access the same file simultaneously. If a file is opened and locked by a user, then other users may still view the file, but will be unable to make changes. It is a useful feature, and should be used to avoid overwriting any changes.

Files may be locked automatically, or manually, and your changes are never lost.

  • Manual lock - A file may be locked manually by the user at any point.
  • Automatic lock - A file will be locked automatically when starting to edit a Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint file. (Provided the Microsoft File Locking Plugin (Windows Only) is enabled).
If the Lock Files feature is not used, and two user's simultaneously make changes to a file, then the "duplicate files" issue occurs.

 

"Duplicate files" caused by not using Lock Files

If you forget to lock a file, or you are unable to lock the file (for instance, if you are off-line), and someone else edits the document simultaneously, then the following happens:

  • The first person to Save the document will auto-create a new version of the master document.
  • When the second person clicks Save, their saved version is also saved, appended with their name.

This results in two (almost identical) duplicate files being placed in the Workplace folder (differing from each other only by the changes made by their respective users, and by the appended name in the filename).

Example:

Although this mechanism ensures data will never be lost, it does mean that you may need to manually merge two, or more, documents to ensure all changes are captured in just one master document.

Important:
This demonstrates how important it is to use the Lock Files feature whenever possible.

 

Related Help topics provided by Autotask

The following links are provided by Autotask, and show information related to the Lock Files feature.