How to maintain litigation hold on single document in SharePoint 2010

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In many enterprises, there are some documents which should not be edited because they are under litigation hold, so they can not be accessed by any normal user of the enterprise application.


SharePoint 2010 has a feature called Hold and eDiscovery which facilitates the setting of a specific document or set of documents under hold. This particular document/set of documents which is put under hold, could only be modified when the hold is released by the appropriate authority. In this article, we will concentrate on how to put a litigation hold on a specific document. First, we need to activate the  "Hold and eDiscovery" feature from Site Actions->Site Settings->Manage Site Features.

hold and discovery

After activating the feature, we could see a new category in the site settings page of "Hold and eDiscovery". In order to define a hold for a specific document, we need to create a hold record in the Holds list which would authorize a specific user to put a document on hold.

Click on Holds->Add new item.


A dialog box will appear where we need to fill in the title, description and authorized user details.

new item

After filling details, click on save and a record will be added to the Holds List as displayed in the image below.


Open the document library, select the document and open its context menu. In the context menu, we can see an option of compliance details which allows the user to view the document retention stage.

add document

A compliance details dialog box will appear which will provide basic details of the retention stage and other details. For our purpose, we need to click on "Add/Remove from hold" which would allow us to add or remove the hold, defined in the hold list which can be in the same site or the parent site.

compliance test

Select the appropriate hold from the dropdown beneath "Add to hold" and click Save. It will add the document to the hold status which means it cannot be edited or deleted.

sp articles

If you look closely at icon, you will see it has a lock symbol on the word icon which represents the locking of the document.

locking of document

Even if anyone tries to edit the file using a client application, the client application will prompt an error that the document is read-only.


The litigation hold which is a critical part of ECM can be easily achieved in SharePoint 2010 with little efforts and very high security.

Next Steps
  • Use the hold feature to target specific documents in different parts of an application where a litigation hold is required.
  • Use the Hold and eDiscover content feature to find the content dynamically and put it hold.

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About the author
MSSQLTips author Rahul Mehta Rahul Mehta is a Project Architect/Lead working at Tata Consultancy Services focusing on ECM.

This author pledges the content of this article is based on professional experience and not AI generated.

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