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How to use Version History in Google Docs

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Google Docs is one of the best options for editing documents online. It also lets you download a document in Microsoft Word format and is a good competitor to it. It automatically saves your document and creates a backup of any changes you made to a document. Google Docs saves all these changes in the form of version history. You can use this version history to view the changes you made in your document and restore those changes. And, in this post, we will show you how to use Version History in Google Docs.

use version history in google docs

You don’t need to enable version history in Google Docs which is a good thing. The version history feature remains turned on automatically in Google Docs. You just need to access it to check all the versions, restore or revert to an earlier version, make a copy of an earlier version, etc. We have covered all such points in this post below.

How to use Version History in Google Docs

The version history feature in Google Docs helps you to view all the previous edits to your document and restore any of those versions whenever needed. Below you can see a simple and detailed explanation of how to use Version History in Google Docs with different sections. These sections are:

  1. View Version History
  2. Rename and restore previous versions
  3. Create a copy of previous versions.

Let’s check all these sections one by one.

1] How to view Version History in Google Docs

View version history in Google Docs

Any changes you make to a Google Docs document are saved separately along with the date and time. This feature is very helpful when you want to view the changes you made on a particular date as you can easily jump to that date in the version history. Now to view Version History in Google Docs, follow these steps:

  1. Open your Google Docs document in your browser
  2. Open the File menu
  3. Access the Version history section
  4. Select the See version history option.

Alternatively, you can also use the Ctrl+Alt+Shift+H hotkey for the same.

In addition to that, you can also click on the link that says the Last edit was… on the top middle section of Google Docs to view or access the version history. Do note that this link is not available in a new document unless you have not made any changes to it. When you start writing, the link will become available.

The Version history panel is opened on the right section. There, you will see the current and all the previous versions of your document along with the date and time of editing, as visible in the screenshot below.

Version history date and time Google Docs

To view the changes in your document on a particular date, simply click on that date. If you expand a version on a particular date and time by clicking on the black arrow icon, you will see more details about that version.

Related: How to use Distraction-Free Mode in Google Docs and Google Slides

2] How to rename and restore previous versions in Google Docs

Rename a version in Google Docs

In Google Docs, you can also rename the current and previous versions of your document as per your requirements. When you give a name to a particular version, its date and time will be displayed just below the version name. To rename a version in Google Docs, follow the steps mentioned below:

  1. Open your document in Google Docs
  2. Open the version history panel
  3. Select a version that you want to rename
  4. Click on the three vertical dots next to that version
  5. Select the Rename option.
  6. Give a name to that version of your document.

If you want to restore a particular version in Google Docs, select that specific version, and click on the Restore this version button available on the top-left part. Alternatively, you can use the three vertical dots icon in the Version history panel and click on the Restore this version option. Restoring a previous version does not delete the current and the other versions, so you can use it without any worry.

3] How to create a copy of previous versions in Google Docs

Create copy of previous version Google Docs

You can also create a copy of a previous version of a Google Docs document. To do so, first, open the Version history panel. After that, select that version and click on the three vertical dots next to it. Use the Make a copy option. Now type a name to this copy and click Make a copy again. Google Docs will open this copied version in a new tab.

You can also print a particular version in Google Docs. To do so, select a version and then click on the Print icon on the top left side.

Also read: How to double space your text in Google Docs

Why can’t I see the Version History in Google Docs?

If you have created a fresh document in Google Docs, you will not see the version history. If you have a shared document, then this issue is due to access rights. If you have only viewing rights for a shared document, you cannot see its version history. To edit a document and see its version history, you have to request edit access from the owner.

Read next: How to create a checklist in Google Docs.

use version history in google docs



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