Listen to the video or read along below:
Some of you may remember when shared drives were a revolutionary way of sharing documents throughout a company. Business documents were stored on a drive within a massive tree of folders that most employees could access. The problem with shared drives was that whoever edited a document last won – and by that I mean if Joe in accounting and Sue in management were editing the same document, there was no way for them to know if anyone else was editing it at the same time. So if Sue saved the document and overwrote it on the shared drive, and Joe finished and saved it an hour later, Joe’s version would become the document – and all Sue’s work would be lost, resulting in wasted time, wasted money, and…well, extreme frustration.
This is why SharePoint‘s version control is so useful. Here’s how it works in a document library. Click on Settings, then Document Library Settings. // Here, under General Settings, click Versioning Settings. // Here’s where you’ll set this up. Content Approval’s asking if you want to approve or reject submitted documents or changes – you would want to do this if you didn’t want everyone with access to the library to see approved, pending, and rejected drafts…for this example, I’ll turn this off for the sake of simplicity. Document Version History is want we really want here. I want a new version to be created every time I update a document – and I want the old versions of the document to remain available in case I mess up and need to revert to a previous version. Right now, No Versioning is selected – so I’ll change that. I can choose major versions or minor versions. I recommend major and minor versions for precision – if someone merely changes the punctuation in the document, I don’t want the document to jump from 2.0 to 3.0.
Below, I can choose how many older versions to keep on file. 2.0s and 3.0s are considered Major Versions, while 2.1.1s and 3.1.1s are considered minor or “drafts.”
Draft Item Security lets you choose who can see every version of a document. You can choose to extend this visibility to anyone who can read items in the library, to those with editing capabilties, or only to users who approve changes. I’m not requiring an approval process for this library, so I can’t choose the last option – but I’ll choose only those who can edit documents, since those are the people likely to be on the team with access to this library.
Lastly, Requiring Check Out is very important. Checking out a document to edit it tells the rest of the world you’re editing that document – if you don’t do that, you revert to the shared drive scenario I mentioned earlier. I’m selecting “yes” here to require my team to check out a document to edit it. You can learn how to check documents in and out in a separate videoblog.
So now let’s test this…let’s say we need to update our Worker’s Comp Form. I’ll click Edit in Microsoft Word – notice I’m “about to check out and edit this” – // and in Word, I’ll make the changes. Now I’ll check in the document – and notice it’s asking me what type of version I’m checking in. These were minor edits, so I’m checking in a minor version or draft – so I’ll select that, and let people know what I did…then click OK.
Now I can click on the Version History of this document and see my latest version here. If I click the drop-down arrow, I can choose to view or unpublish my version – or restore the version below. I can also delete all minor versions – all the small drafts – and keep major ones, the 2.0s and 3.0s, to make things simpler.
That’s the scoop on versioning. Visit our blog for more.