How to view recent file versions in Google Docs

Google Drive can keep multiple versions of the same file. Version management in Google Drive is quite smart and flexible. Google Docs has similar version control for the documents you create in it. Since Google Docs is a collaboration tool, file versions are even more important. Here’s how you can see recent file versions in Google Docs. This also works for Google Sheets and Google Slides.

File versions in Google Docs

Open the Google Docs file you want to see previous versions of. Go to File > Version History > View Version History. You can also use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Alt + Shift + H to open the version history of a file.

The version history opens in a panel on the right. By default, versions are named according to the date they were last edited. You can select the version you want to see. By default, changes made between the latest version and the latest version will be highlighted.

Google Docs saves a version of a file every time you stop editing it and close it. If you’re collaborating on a file with other people and they continue to edit it even though you’re not working on it, Google Docs won’t save it as a separate version until everyone else stops working on it.

To make versions easier to manage, you can name them. To name a file version, open it in Google Docs and go to File > Version History > Current Version Name. This option allows you to name only the current version. To name previous versions, open the version history panel and click the more options button next to a document version. From the menu, select Name this version and give it a name.

You can also make a copy of the version and save it to your Google Drive.

Limitations

We should mention that file versions in Google Docs are available only for documents that were edited in Google Docs. You can upload and open Word and Pages files in Google Docs; however, when these files are imported into Google Docs, the history of recent edits made to the file will not be imported. It doesn’t matter if you uploaded multiple versions of the file to Google Drive and then opened it in Google Docs. When it comes to Google Docs, you only have access to the current version and any subsequent edits you’ve made to the file from within the app.