Google docs version control or track changes

This blog we will see how to track changes using Google docs version control. Google Docs is an excellent option to edit and collaborate content with a bunch of people.

  • To view the Google Docs version history, Click the “File menu” > Select “Version History” > Choose “See Version History“.
  • Keyboard shortcut to view Google Docs edit history: Ctrl+Shift+Alt+ H

But sometimes it might be a bit messy when you have got a cluster of people changing sentences, adding suggestions, , or modifying paragraphs, at this scenarios, it is quite difficult to track changes you have made to a document.

Does Google Docs have version control?

When you work in Google Docs, the changes you made will automatically and constantly get saved. This constitutes the version control of google docs. 

What is Google Docs version control?

Users with the edit access to a particular file can able to see the full history and the changes made by a shared person with the help of the revision history feature. The can able to check who has don the changes and can also able to revert the changes to the last version of the document.

This catalog of document changes is called Version History. Version History is an excellent tool that you can use in different ways. You have the entire control of the versions and are known as Google Docs version control. 

You can see this option in Microsoft Office with a different name “revision history.” Google Docs’s feature is similar but in the name of “version control.”

How to view Google docs history

The Google Suite offers you a very easy way to view all the changes you have made to a file on Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides. This is extremely useful when you’ve made lots of changes to a file or are working as part of a team and need to track the changes made to a shared file.

Not to forget one fine fact “Google Docs actually saves the versions of your documents automatically as you started editing them”.

Let’s explore how we can view Google Docs history and collaborate on Docs effectively in this article. 

How to track changes/versions control in a Google Doc?

Quickest Way:

You can view version control by going to version history by just hitting Ctrl+Shift+Alt+ H from your keyboard (This is for Windows users).

Google Docs revision history

This would open a panel to the right of your document. That panel lists various versions of your document, along with the names of people who made edits in that version and when those changes were made. 

revision history in Google Docs

Few things to be noted: 

  • The edits made by each person would be shown in the color that appears next to their name.
  • Text that has been added new will be highlighted in a different color.
  • Text that has been deleted from the document will be shown with a strikethrough.

The title of each version will be with the date and time of changes done on the document.

Quick Way:

In your Google Docs, Find your document’s title, then you can look at down and then right of the title for the statement regarding edit history of your document.

You will see something like , “Last edit was 4 minutes ago”. You can reveal the Version control by clicking on this particular link.

Google docs version control

An effective and usual way of tracking changes or version control is using Version History.

  • Open a Google Docs.
  • To get started, open your document,

Click “File menu” > Select “Version History” > Choose “See Version History

Google docs track changes

You will find a panel to the right of your Google Docs document with the name and version details

Note: You can alternatively click on the All Changes saved in Drive text above the features menu.

  • The right panel of your document will reveal all of your earlier versions of your draft. You can click on any version in the timeline to instantly took over version control. The changes made between the current version and the previous one are highlighted in different colors.
google docs document version control

Note: You can disable this highlighting by unchecking Show changes at the bottom of the right panel, allowing you to see a version control of the document without any disturbing visual clutters.

google docs add version control
  • You have also an option to rename the drafts version that you have made earlier, to make it quite easy to find and track version control which version of draft you’re actually looking at this moment of time.

Click on the three vertical dots by hovering over to the right of your different versions of the docs. You will have two options. You can optionally name any version of a document and also create a copy.

Naming is not a necessary one but can be a handy way to keep track of all the changes and change version control. Creating a copy will make a brand new document in Google Docs based on whatever iteration of the current document you specify.

google docs change version control

Or, You might have noticed another option: Name the current version when choosing the version history from the file menu. You can directly name from there. Also, one can optionally name any version of a document by hovering over it, clicking the three vertical dots to the right, then clicking Name this version.

Note: You can find the total number of edits made after your changes on the top. Sometimes, the particular change you’ve clicked on has multiple edits within it. In this case, you can click on the chevron icon to jump through them.

Check Google docs history
  • If you can prefer the earlier version of the document and wish to restore the changes you have done or to revert the file to the version you’re currently viewing, you need to click on the “Restore This Version” option from the top of the document.

You can restore that version, if you prefer, just by clicking the big blue Restore this version button above the document.

does google docs have version control

To return to the current version of your file, click the back arrow in the top left.

  • There is an alternative option for version control where you can view the comments by clicking on the “Comments Thread” option that is present beside the “Share” button.

The moment, you click on this comment icon, you have an option to track all the changes you have done in the Google Docs document and see all the comments you and the team have given.

google docs no version control

So now, with version control, you can always track and restore all the changes you have done on the Google Docs document.

A word of caution: 

You may notice sometimes that a shared file doesn’t have a revision history.  This happens when someone shares a file with you and gives you read-only permission. Giving read-only permission does not allow you to see its history. 

Version histories on mobile apps:

Google Docs Version History is not available on the mobile version. 

However, you can see details about a document, such as when it was created and when it was last modified by going to the three-dot menu in the upper right corner and choosing Details, but a more detailed revision history can only be viewed from a computer.

On other hand, one can view past activities via the Google Drive app. Let’s explore the steps below. 

How to view Google Apps history in an iPhone/iPad app?

View your past activities

Step 1: On your iPhone or iPad, open the Google Drive app.

Step 2: Choose the file you want and next to the file you want to check, tap More More.

Step 3: Now tap on Details & Activity.

Step 4: Scroll down until you see “Activity.”

How to view Google Apps history in an android app?

The steps for the android app is the same as in iPhone and iPad,

  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Drive app.
  2. Choose the file you want and next to the file you want to check, tap More More.
  3. Now tap on Details & activity.
  4. Scroll down until you see “Activity.”

This would typically list down your version history and past activities. 

You can able to print the earlier versions of the document from the version history view. 

Steps to be followed to print a version from the revision history:

Step 1: Choose the specific version that you want exactly

Step 2: Click on the print icon that is present on the upper left –> select the print options.

Step 3: Make sure to untick the “Show changes” box.

Restoring the document to the original version after edits:

It’s obvious most of the time the actual reason for searching for the Google Docs version history is to roll back a document to the earlier versions. 

It’s not that complex as it sounds. The following simple steps could do the magic for you. 

Steps to be followed for restoring to the original version in a document:

Step 1: Open Google docs in your browser window.

Step 2: Click on File -> Open to open the document you want, then go to the Version history by following the instructions mentioned above.

Step 3: Find the version you want to revert back to.

Step 4: Then, with that version chosen, select Restore this version that is present at the top of the page.

Step 5: A confirmation dialog box will appear. Then, select Restore to convert your document back to the previous version you selected. If you change your mind, you can select Cancel.

Step 6: Once the reversion will complete, your document will be restored and you’ll see a confirmation pop up at the top of your page.

Note: If you have already restored an earlier version of a document and then you have decided to keep the current version of document, then you are flexible to go back into the version history and restore your document again, to any version.

how to check google docs history
how to check google docs history

What is revision history in Google Docs?

The chronological order of record of all revisions to a file is generally termed as a revision history in Google Docs

Revision History allows one to see who has edited your document: renaming files and folders, moves or deletes said folders and files, uploads something to any of your folders, and even if it’s shared work.

Why Version control?

Editing allows you to alternate your document good. But what if you will think that the earlier version was far better than the current one?

With Google Docs’ version control, you can able to see the previous versions of the document. This helps you to restore your document entirely to the previous version. This feature is enabled by default. So there is no need to turn anything on.

Any time changes you made to the document will be saved with a different version. If you have the requirement to go back to the last version of your project, The Revision history that is the version control that lets you navigate through it.

Who has access to a Document’s Version control?

The document’s owner and the people who have access to the edit option can access a document’s version control. You can verify your document’s sharing settings to check whether you have access to the view the version control.

Why revision history could be your lifesaver?

Google suite of applications maintains an automatic history of modifications, which can help users track file changes and content revisions.

In the revision history, you can see what all the edits have been made on the specific file and you can also revert to a specific version of a file with specific edits. It helps you even to restore your complete document to it’s previous version. 

With Google Docs version history, you can control the changes made to the shared documents in an organization. This is especially important at the moment you’re trying to collaborate the documents with many people in a group.

A version of the file that represents a change to the file contents only, not a change to its metadata such as file title. Thus each revision can be downloaded or published.

What are the uses of Version control?

If there are some sudden changes, or you just want to make sure that there is no unexpected changes those have been made, you can check the Version History for the modifications. Below are the additional ways to check more on the Version control.

  • You can use the Version control to see exactly how many times students edited the stories, when they exactly started, how much time did they spend on writing the story, or do multiple revisions to determine the contribution of each of the students.
  • Besides this, Version control can be used for meeting notes, budgets, etc.

If you don’t want to show a new editor every comment and change that your document has been through, you don’t want your editors to have version control, you can follow the below steps to purge the timeline of revisions to your documents. Export your document as a PDF.

  • Make a copy of your document. The new copy won’t bring any comments, history, or revisions over with it. To any reviewer, this new document had no history before it was copied.

You may like the following Google Docs tutorials:


Now you can use the Version control option to track all your changes effectively by following the above instructions and Hoping the above tips are useful to know how to view Google docs history so what else are you waiting for. Follow the above productive steps and make documenting efficient in your very next work.