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Manage File Versions

How to Manage File Versions in Google Drive

Manage File Versions

When you have a number of people collaborating on files, it can be helpful to view the activity history and know how to work with versions.

View the History of a File or Folder

If you want to see the history of a file or folder, you can view its Activity log.

  1. Select the file or folder you want to view the history of.
  2. Click the View details button. Manage File Versions

    The Details tab opens, where you see a preview of the file as well as some useful data, including file size, owner, and creation date.

  3. Click the Activity tab. Manage File Versions

    Here, you see a running log of the file’s history, including what the change was and who made the change. This can be very useful when auditing the content for notable updates.

Upload a New Version

Imagine you’re working on an Excel spreadsheet with a few other people. You send out a link to your teammates, but after a few days realize you need to make a change to the file. If you simply update the spreadsheet and re-upload it to Google Drive, the link you sent to your teammates now directs them to the wrong file.

For files that aren’t Google files (Microsoft Office files, images, etc.), Drive allows you to replace an older version of a file with a new upload, all while retaining its link.

  1. Select the file you want to replace with a new version.
  2. Click the More actions button.
  3. Select Manage versions. Manage File Versions

    You can also right-click the file and select Manage versions from the menu.

  4. Click Upload New Version. Manage File Versions
  5. Select the new file.
  6. Click Open. Manage File Versions

New versions of a file can have a different file name or even file type than the previous version.

The file is replaced with new version. If this file was owned by someone else originally, they will still be the owner of the file you uploaded.

Download or Delete a Previous Version

Previous versions of a file are stored for a period of time. If you want, you can download or permanently remove a previous version.

  1. Select the file you want to manage a previous version of.
  2. Click the More actions button.
  3. Select Manage versions.

    You can also right-click the file and select Manage versions from the menu.

  4. Click the More actions button next to the version you want to manage.
  5. Select Download or Delete. Manage File Versions

    Google will automatically merge file revisions together over time. If you don’t ever want a version to be deleted, select Keep forever from this menu. Previous versions of Google Drive files don’t take up space in your Drive account, but the previous versions of non-Google files do consume storage space.

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