How to Use Version History in Google Docs

Track teamwork seamlessly: Version History for Shared Docs

There is a feature in Google Docs, Sheets, Drawings, and Slides called “Version History” that keeps track of all the changes that have been made to a document over time. The “track changes” feature in Microsoft Word has to be turned on and off by the user. This guide shows you how to use Version History in Google Docs.

Google’s Version History, on the other hand, works all the time and records every edit without any problems. This feature makes sure that any change, no matter how small, is seen and recorded. Users can easily get to Version History, which lets them look at, compare, and restore previous versions of documents. Whether you’re working alone or with a team, this feature gives you a lot of transparency and accountability, which makes workflows more efficient and collaboration easier.

Also, Google’s suite of productivity tools includes Version History, which gives users a strong and flexible way to manage documents. This makes them more productive and protects the integrity of their work. For more information go to their official website.

Why Clearing Version History is Important

Something useful that Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides all have is called “version history.” It lets you look at older versions of your file and even bring back a specific one. But there are times when you might want to delete the history of versions, like when you want to share a document that used to have private data on it. By clearing the version history, you make sure that other people can only see the most recent copy of your document.

Steps to Clear Version History in Google Docs

  1. Sign in to your Google account and go to the Google Docs homepage (
  2. Locate the document you want to clear the version history from in the “Recent Documents” section and open it.
  3. In the document window (not the main browser), click the “File” button.
  4. Select “Make a copy” from the dropdown menu that appears.
  5. Click “OK” and a new copy of the document will open in a new browser tab.
  6. Return to your Google Docs homepage. Hover over the original file and click the “Actions” button.
  7. From the dropdown menu, select “Move to Trash” to delete the original file.
  8. Now, go to the copied file. Click the “Actions” button and select “Rename”. Remove the “Copy of” text from the title.

Best Practices for Managing Version History

Naming and versions of documents:

  • Clear Naming Convention: Come up with a way to name versions that everyone can understand. Add short descriptions, version numbers, dates, or initials. “Report_v2_Final_JS.docx” is an example.
  • Use Version Numbers: Version numbers should be raised for each major change, not for small ones.

Tracking and working together:

  • Limit Editing Access: To avoid making changes by accident, give each collaborator specific editing rights.
  • Use Suggesting Mode: For better tracking, get feedback through suggestions instead of direct edits.

Putting away and saving:

  • Keep Important Versions: You can “Keep forever” important versions by hand, even if Google deletes older ones on its own.
  • Download Certain Versions: You can export separate versions as needed for backup or reference.

Security and Privacy Considerations for Version History

Keep safe:

  • Privacy: Google encrypts data both when it’s being sent and when it’s being stored. This makes it harder for people who aren’t supposed to see it to get to it. But it’s important to keep in mind that encryption doesn’t mean that everything is completely safe.
  • Access Control: The sharing settings let you decide who can see your document and track its history of changes. But make sure you know the difference between the levels of permission and only let people in who really need to.
  • Accidental Access: Sharing files or trying to get in without permission can happen even if access is properly controlled. Check your sharing settings often, and for extra security, think about turning on two-factor authentication for your Google account.

Concerns about privacy:

  • Content Visibility: Anyone with the right access permissions can see all versions of your document, even drafts and content that has been deleted. Pay attention to the data you put in your document, especially data that should not be shared.
  • Audit Logs: Google may keep track of who accessed which versions of a document and when in audit logs. This is helpful for security investigations, but it also means that what you do in the document is not completely private.
  • Third-Party Apps: If you use third-party add-ons with Google Docs, those apps may be able to see the content and history of all the versions of your document. Before you use any of these add-ons, make sure you fully understand and research their privacy policies.

Tips for Efficiently Using Version History

Getting Around and Seeing:

  • Access: To quickly get to the version history, go to File > Version history > See version history. You can also click “Last edit” and pick a version right away.
  • Click the arrow next to a timestamp to make a group of versions bigger.

Managing versions and restoring them:

  • Name Versions: Click More > to see important steps Label this version with a name to make it more clear.
  • Delete Versions: To get rid of a version for good, right-click on it and choose “Delete.” Be careful!

Getting along and getting work done:

  • Track Changes: Hovering over color-coded changes lets you see who made them and when.
  • Comments: Talk about specific changes in the version history in the comments.


Can I clear version history for a document that was shared with me?

No, only the document owner has the ability to clear version history. However, you can suggest to the owner that they follow the steps outlined in this guide.

Will clearing version history affect the contents of my document?

No, clearing version history will not alter the current content of your document. It simply removes the past versions from the revision history.

Why can’t I see version history in Google Docs?

If you can’t see a Google Doc version history, it probably means that you don’t have access rights. This implies that you only have “can view” rights to the file. You can ask the person who is managing the file to modify your access rights to “can edit”, or “can organize, add and edit”.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
The Bollyinside editorial staff is made up of tech experts with more than 10 years of experience Led by Sumit Chauhan. We started in 2014 and now Bollyinside is a leading tech resource, offering everything from product reviews and tech guides to marketing tips. Think of us as your go-to tech encyclopedia!


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