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How to view recent file versions on Google Docs

Google Drive can keep multiple versions of the same file. The version management on Google Drive is pretty clever and flexible. Google Docs has similar version control for the documents that you create in it. Given that Google Docs is a collaboration tool, file versions are all the more important. Here’s how you can view recent file versions on Google Docs. This works for Google Sheets and Google Slides as well.

File versions on Google Docs

Open the Google Docs file that you want to view older versions of. Go to File>Version History>See version history. You can also use the Ctrl+Alt+Shift+H keyboard shortcut to open the version history for a file.

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

Google Docs saves a version of a file each 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 will not save it as a separate version until everyone else stops working on it.

To make the versions easier to manage, you can name them. To name a file version, open it in Google Docs and go to File>Version History>Name current version. This option lets you name the current version only. To name older versions, open the version history panel, and click the more options button next to a version of the document. 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.


We should mention that file versions on 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, no history of the recent edits made to the file will be imported. It doesn’t matter if you uploaded several versions of the file to Google Drive and then opened it in Google Docs. As far as Google Docs is concerned, it only has access to the current version, and all subsequent edits that you made to the file from inside the app itself.

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