Google Docs: Version History

Lesson 21: Version History


Version history

Google Docs saves every change made to your document through a feature called version history. In this lesson, you'll learn how to use version history to restore your document to the exact moment you desire, copy specific sections, and determine who made certain changes. 

Watch the video below to learn how to use version history.

Accessing version history

There are two ways to access version history.

  • Go to File > Version history > See version history.
    clicking see version history
  • Click the save notice at the top of the document.
    clicking the save notice

Browsing different versions

On the right side of the screen, previous versions of the document are saved in chronological order. Browse different versions until you find what you're looking for. Versions are often grouped together, and you can click the drop-down arrow to expand the group. 

clicking the drop-down arrow

Underneath each version, you can see who made the changes. Click a version to review it.

clicking a version

As you review previous versions, you can toggle the Show changes option to make it easier to see differences between the versions.

clicking show changes

Naming versions

If you want to keep track of a specific draft, you can name a version. Click the dots next to the version that you want to name and select Name this version.

clicking name this version

Naming a version makes it much easier to find. You can even filter to only show named versions.

only show named versions

Restoring versions

To restore an earlier version, click Restore this version at the top.

clicking restore this version

Next, confirm your choice. Keep in mind that restoring a version means that you will lose any changes that have been made since then. You should only restore a version as a last resort.

confirming restore

Copying specific sections

If you only want to bring back part of an older version, you can copy and paste that specific text. Highlight a section, right-click, and choose Copy.

copy and paste

Click the arrow in the top-left corner to close version history. You can then paste the copied text into the document. 

clicking back

Seeing new changes

When you open a Google Doc, if someone has made changes since you last saw the document, the See New Changes notification will appear. Click the notification to review the changes.

clicking see new changes

You can review the changes in a new window. When you return to the document, the See New Changes notification will be gone. 

seeing the new changes