Delete The Locked Documents From SharePoint

This blog will help you to understand the record declaration functionality in SharePoint Online.

What is record declaration functionality in Sharepoint? 

Mostly, the record declaration functionality will be used to secure the most sensitive data like business legal documents. To enable the Record declaration functionality, you must activate the “in place Record Management” feature at site collection level.

To activate the feature, go to Site Settings, under Site Collection Administration select the Site Collection feature, search for "In place record management" and activate it.


So, once the feature is activated, you can see the record declaration settings in all Document Library


In this setting, a few options are available.

  • Use the site collection default setting – it will not allow the user to declare the document as record.

    • Always allow the manual declaration of record – it will allow users to declare the document as record manually
    • Never allow the manual declaration of records – it is the same as first option
    • Then the last option automatically declares items as records when they are added to this list – if you enable this, this document acts like a record center. Whenever you add a document, it will automatically declare it as a record.


In my scenario, I have selected the “Always allow the manual declaration of records”. So, whenever I want I can declare or undeclare the document as a record.

How can we declare the document as a record?

So here, I have uploaded my resume to the document library and I just click the ellipsis from the item and go to Advanced >> Compliance Details, as shown in the below image.


A new popup window will open and it says this document is not a record. In the below image, you can see “Declare as a record” option (you can click this option if you want to declare the document as a record). So here, I am going to declare my resume as a record by clicking "Declare as a record".


Once I declare it as a record, the status will be changed as “Record;”. Just, click "Close".


Refresh the page and you can see the lock symbol on top of the item icon.


What will happen once the document is declared as a record?

Once the document is declared as a record, that document will be moved to the read-only mode (Locked), which means that a user can view the document but he/she can’t edit or delete the document and some default functionality will be grayed out like Check In and Check Out, edit property etc., but you can share this document with any of your colleagues or business partners, however, they can only view the document, not edit it.

How to prevent this declaration setting from some users?

Normally, the contributors and site owners can declare or undeclare the document as a record. To customize the setting, go to the site setting and under the site collection administration, select the "Record declaration settings".


In my scenario, I am going to block that document from edit and delete, then I am going to set it so only that site owners can declare the document as record by using the only list administrators and for undeclaring I am going to give as only policy action because I don’t want the site owners to undeclare the document. If the site owners need to undeclare the document they need to contact the site collection administrators for best practice to hold the data more securely in the organization.

How to delete the declared as a record document?

Just follow a few steps to delete the locked file

  • Based upon my scenario, I requested the site collection administrator to change the policy at site collection level from “Only policy actions” to “only list administrators” on Undeclaring actions
  • Then go to that item and click ellipsis then more or advanced; then compliance Details, then click the undeclared record and wait for a few minutes until you can see declare as record


Then click close and refresh the page, then the lock symbol will disappear from the items icons.


If you want to secure your business documents from your colleagues or team, you can use this option and by default, there will be one record library that will be created once you activate the “In place Records Management”. It is the same as a document library but whenever you upload a document, it will consider it as a record by default.

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