What you should know about versioning in SharePoint
What is SharePoint versioning anyway?
Microsoft SharePoint is a powerful platform for document management, helping users break free from convoluted folder structures on shared drives or emailing back and forth to revise a document. SharePoint helps users get away from these old habits and work smarter thanks to features like secure, cloud-based file storage, metadata/tagging, and automated workflows. One of SharePoint’s strongest document management features is version control, which enables users to manage and track versions of documents throughout their lifecycle.
What is SharePoint versioning?
Throughout each new version of the document, the file name and location remain consistent so users always know where to find the file. SharePoint saves the previous versions, so users can access them on an as-needed basis, whether they want to simply view an older iteration or revert back to it. In the document library, SharePoint always displays the most recent version of the file, so it is easy to tell which version is the most up-to-date without sifting through all iterations.
Why should you use versioning?
Version control helps you keep your SharePoint document library clean and organized, especially compared to the chaos of folders on your desktop or shared drives. Instead of having dozens of versions of the same document with increasingly ridiculous file names (like “PolicyManual_updated_bobs-edits_new-format_final_FINAL_really-final-this-time”), you will always know what the most recent version is, while also retaining access to the history of the document.
Collaborate with ease
Gone are the days of lengthy email threads to share updates to documents. With SharePoint, your documents are stored in one central location in a document library, and you can easily collaborate on these documents. Your coworkers will all be able to see the changes you’ve made, and there is no confusion over which version of the document is the most up-to-date.
Ensure auditability and legal protection Enabling versioning in SharePoint may help you meet your organization’s legal or audit requirements. Versioning helps you create an audit trail, as it makes the history of documents transparent and traceable. You can track when changes were made and who made them.
Your future self will thank you
If you ever need to refer to or restore an old version of a document, versioning ensures that you have access to this history. You may not need to do this very often, but when you need to restore a former version of a critical document, you will be so glad you have versioning enabled!
How do you configure versioning in SharePoint?
In SharePoint Online, versioning is already enabled by default for document libraries. If you want to add versioning to lists, or if you are not on SharePoint Online, you will need to manually enable versioning. In any case, there are several additional settings that you will want to configure to meet your organization’s unique needs.
1) Choose the type of versioning.
2) Define the number of versions.
3) Require content approval, if needed.
4) Configure user permission.
As a document management platform, SharePoint has extremely robust features like versioning and check-in/check-out, helping you transform the way you work. However, we have found that many SharePoint users aren’t aware of the extent of these features or how to customize them the way they want. We hope this guide to versioning gives you a better idea of how to set up your document libraries for success.