Microsoft Tips, News, Productivity

Manage Version Control with OneDrive

At my last job, prior to starting Astute Review, managing document version control was a constant pain for me on a daily basis. A seemingly simple task, like determining where the most recent file was, often proved to be a stress-filled experience, as shared intranet folders were updated simultaneously to emails flooding my inbox with new file versions. With so many hands involved in creating documents, file versions would often intersect in my inbox leaving me rushing to determine not only who had the most recent file, but also what was the difference between “BoDv10_legal edits.pptx” and “BoDv9.2_TJ comments.pptx.” Luckily, Microsoft has a way to track changes between files; however, tracking changes still didn’t reduce the time and headaches associated with managing document versions or let me know what was the most recent file. What made this process even more frustrating was that my company was using Office 365 during this time! There was an easy solution, we just never coordinated to adopt new practices.

I am always amazed when I talk to friends and former colleagues to hear horror stories about how much time is wasted determining who had the most recent file. With all the new technologies and features that Microsoft has added over the years, why are we still using antiquated and inefficient processes for updating and managing documents? Humans are stubborn and groups are slow to initiate change, but adding to the equation is the fact that although Office 365 is very intuitive and user-friendly, employees who cut their teeth on old Microsoft products don’t take a step back to think how these new versions can improve their daily lives with administrative tasks.

If you are a OneDrive user, follow these easy steps to manage file versions. AND be an agent of change, educate your colleagues to start managing files in OneDrive. It’s not hard, and it will save you all from future headaches.

(Note: The below instructions apply across Word, Excel, and PowerPoint)

See Version History on OneDrive

  1. Open OneDrive.
  2. From the list of files, right-click on the document you wish to view the version history for.

3. A sidebar will appear displaying the version history of your document.  If you wish to view an older version, simply right-click on the file to Open it or Restore the old version to be the most current one.

See version history in the desktop app

  1. In OneDrive, right click on the desired file and select Open => Open in App.

2. View your version history by selecting the file name in the top toolbar.

3. When finished updating a file, simply save the file (no need to “Save as”) and exit the program.

Do not forget to check out your file to avoid conflicting edits from your colleagues

  1. Viewing version history can help you track updates to presentations and find old files, but it does not prevent your colleagues from making conflicting changes to your edits. It is important to Check Out your presentation to prevent other users from making edits.
  2. When working in your desktop app (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), select File => Manage Presentation (Manage Document for Word and Manage Workbook for Excel) => Check Out.

3. When finished updating the file, make sure to check your document back in so others can use it by selecting File => Check In.

Influencing change is hard, but your colleagues will thank you after using OneDrive to update, track and save files…ALL UNDER THE SAME FILE NAME!

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