How to view Google docs history

In this Google docs tutorials, we will discuss how to view Google docs history.

Now, most businesses are dependent on the cloud for their documenting needs, Google Docs becomes the most preferred one for daily needs. Even as individuals, freelancers, or business groups we tend to juggle between words, thoughts, and craft experiences.

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 automatically saves versions of your documents as you edit them”.

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 revision history could be your lifesaver?

Editing happens one revision at a time, but what if you feel like a previous version was better in some way? 

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. This lets you grab that one content you regret deleting or even restore your document entirely to a previous version. 

With Google Docs version history, you can control the changes made to the shared documents in an organization. This is especially important when you’re collaborating on documents with a group of people.

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.

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

Steps to be followed to view Google Docs history

Step 1: Open Google Docs on your browser window

Step 2: Click on File -> Open

view Google docs history

Step 3: A new dialog box would appear. Choose the file you want to open and click on Open

How to view Google docs history

Step 4: Then click File -> Version History -> See version history

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

Shortcut way: Use the Windows shortcut Ctrl+Alt+Shift+H or Command+Option+Shift+H on macOS.

Google docs 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.

Depending on how many individuals are collaborating on the document and how often changes are made, that list may be long or it may be short. And unless you’ve previously accessed the version history and made some sort of changes to it, each version will be titled with the date and time changes were made to the document.

Step 5: You can jump through different versions of the document. Click on any version in the timeline to see the edits. Changes between the selected version and the previous one are highlighted, as shown above.

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

Step 6: 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.

Google Docs revision history

You can also create a copy, which will help you maintain a brand new document in Google Docs based on whatever iteration of the current document you specify.

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

Step 7: To revert the file to the version you’re currently viewing, click Restore this revision.

Step 8: To return to the current version of your file, click the back arrow in the top left.

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. 

Print a version from the revision history

You can print prior versions of your document from the version history view. 

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

Step 1: Choose the version you want

Step 2: Select the print icon in the upper left of the screen then select your print options, as usual.

Step 3: Make sure to uncheck the “Show changes” box if you want to print a version of your file that hides the edit indicators by default.

Restoring the document to the original version after edits:

It’s obvious most of the time your reason for looking up the version history in Google Docs is to roll a document back to the state it was in before changes were made. 

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 navigate to the Version history using the instructions above.

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

Step 4: Then, with that version chosen, select Restore this version 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: Your document will be restored and you’ll see confirmation in a brief pop-up dialog at the top of the page once the reversion is complete.

Note: If you restore a previous version of the document and then change your mind, you can always go back into your version history and restore the document again, to a later or even an earlier version.

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

You may like the following Google Docs tutorials:

Hope the above tips are useful to know how to view Google docs history and what else are you waiting for. Follow the above productive steps and make documenting efficient in your very next work.