Version history allows you to see the edits in a Google Doc, Sheets, Slides, or Sites. When you make edits in the document it is recorded as a version and you can revert back to the version any time!

File Menu

In Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides use the File menu to choose “Version history.”

File menu Version History

Choose “See version history.”

See version history

View Versions

Viewing the version history allows you to see when edits were made in the document in a side panel on the right hand side.

Version history view on Google Slides

The versions come fairly frequently when you are working on a document. Notice in my animation below it was saving a version up to 3 times a minute. Versions are prompted by edits in the document.

Name Versions

Versions by default are named by the date and time. This is helpful and also not helpful. I can not tell you how many times I’ve gone through all the edits on version history trying to find the exact time that a particular edit was made.

I highly recommend that you frequently choose “Name current version” in the File menu Version history option. Naming the version allows you to say specifically what edit or update was made. Making it easy to revert back to that version or review what your earlier thoughts were.

You can also name the versions in the version history. As you are reviewing through the different versions you can double click on the date and change it to a named version.

Do Not Make Copies

I have been using the same Google Document for my syllabus for 10 years! Copies make a giant mess of your Google Drive. Why have separate documents all over your drive? Instead take advantage of version history. Reuse the same documents over and over again year after year. Simply edit and name the version. You have all the versions easy to find all in the same document. Simply view the version history and restore versions if you do need to go back.

Make a Copy

On the rare occasion that I do need a copy of the document from a previous version I can go to the version history, hover over the desired version, click on the three dots menu and choose “Make a copy.” A separate document with that version will be created.

Version history make a copy

Be Bold – Give Edit Access

The first thing to do with your Google Slides presentation before presenting to your students is to use the File menu and under Version history choose “Name current version” and name it “Template.”

Name current version template

Share the Google Slides with students with EDIT ACCESS! Collaboration is “stress free” in the sense that you can always revert back to your template version so it looks like you never gave the students access at all.

When asking a question invite the students to add a slide with their response. This allows more students to actively participate. At the end of the lesson (or after each question) name the version of the Google Slides to something like “Period 1 Q1” or “Period 2 Monday”

Revert Back

Use the same Google Slides with all your classes… every year… exact same Slides. After first period use the Version history to “Restore this version” back to the named version “Template.” Have 2nd period contribute to the Slides. Restore back to “Template” after each class. If the next day you want to review student contributions from 1st period simply go back to the version history and restore the named version from the 1st period discussion. No need to make copies of the same document!

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