Document management and versioning is a regular and a necessary activity in any organization. We do face some challenges in our organization too. We searched the best option to overcome those. Finally, we found a solution via SharePoint versioning.
What is Versioning?
You can find a clear idea about versioning by seeing the picture below. Versioning describes the management of changes in your document. You can track your document changes in each version and can reuse whenever you want. You can maintain major versions (V1.0, V2.0) alone or if you need your draft copies, you can maintain them in minor versions too (V1.1. V1.2, V1.3 and V2.1, V2.2, V2.3).
Why we use Versioning
- Versioning, combined with other settings, like checkout and check-in, which gives you a lot of control over your document
- Versioning is automated. You don’t need to give version numbers for your updated files at each time when you check-in. It starts from 0.1 for Minor version and 1.0 for Major version. Versioning provides a user-friendly infrastructure for finding out who made what changes and when
- You can set your maximum major and minor versions limit values for avoiding large storage of files
How to use Versioning in SharePoint
You can enable versioning through either of the following two ways:
- Through Settings page
- Through Library Settings
Both ways are described below.
Through Settings Page
- Go to settings which is located in the top right corner -> Click Site settings from the drop-down
- Click Site libraries and lists -> Click Customize “Documents” -> Click Versioning settings.
Through Library settings:
- Select the file or folder -> Files or library items will be displayed in top menu.
- As you click Library, a drop down window is displayed -> Click Library settings -> Click versioning settings link
You can reach the Versioning Settings page. Here you can set your limitations. Let’s see the items briefly here:
- Content approval
If you enable this item, your file can be viewed only when your approver approves. Won’t We don’t use this option in our organization, as we see more time consuming and dependent on approver for any other team member to access the file.
- Document Version history
- No versioning – Disable the version control
- Create major versions – Only Major versions can be created and there are no draft items maintained here
- Create Major and minor versions – We are using this feature for finding the status of the document. If the document lies in Brainstorming or Review and is still being updated, we place it under minor versions.
Once finalized the document comes under Publish as a major version.
- You can set your maximum count value to maintain major and minor versions
- Draft item security
- You can set who can be able to view your changes of document after check in.
- Requires checkout
- You can set whether the checkout is needed or not every time you open the document
Scenario for versioning
The notable point in versioning is, it does not support in folder level. Only Documents can be maintained using version settings. Try out the following steps to perform versioning.
- When versioning enabled in site settings, the existing files were in Major version. When we want to update the same file or edit, Click Checkout option by clicking … -> Advanced -> check out
You can find a downward pointing arrow mark in green color that indicates check out is done. We can see who has checked out the document by doing mouse hover on that arrow mark. You can use the document for your changes now.
- After you are done with the changes, you have to check in the document by clicking the Check in button. In case you do not want to save the changes, you can use the option to Discard check out which will revert the document to the last checked in version
- When you click the Check in option, SharePoint asks the user to select the type of version based on your document which keeps as a draft item or published version.
You can see your items by clicking Version history option. All minor and major version items are listed. As mentioned before, Major versions items are maintained as whole numbers (1.0, 2.0) and minor version are maintained as decimal numbers starting from the last whole numbers (0.1, 0.2). User will not be able to change the versioning numbers.
We followed this versioning in our organization with both major and minor version concepts. The document is maintained as minor version for requirement analysis, brainstorming section and review stages until requirements freeze. Before the feature is considered for development, user will publish as a major version so that everyone can use it.
- Versioning also allows us to restore a document to earlier versions when required.
We started using Versioning in our organization to maintain same document base for feature development and any updates. All change requests, enhancements are captured in the same document by modifying it and saving it as different versions.
Though there are many document versioning systems, SharePoint in Office 365 is very easy to setup and use.