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How to Delete Version History in Google Docs


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When you make a change to a Google Docs document, a copy of the previous version is saved. This allows you to roll back changes, but if you prefer, you can hide or delete the version history. Here’s how.

Hide a Google Docs Document’s Version History

Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to completely hide the version history from other document editors or contributors without making a copy of the file first. If you want to limit access to the version history without doing this, however, you’ll have to restrict access to view-only mode.

Users with view-only access to a Google Docs document can view the current copy, but can’t see the version history or roll back changes. To switch your document to view-only mode, open your document and click the “Share” button in the top-right corner.

Press "Share" in a Google Docs document to access share settings.

In the sharing settings window, invite another user to view your file by typing their email address into the “Add People and Groups” box.

Type an email address into the "Add People and Groups" box.

Once the email address is inserted, the sharing options box will update.

Select “Viewer” from the drop-down menu, type a message to add to the invitation (sent by email to alert the user) into the “Message” box, then select “Send” to send the invite.

In the Google Docs sharing box, select "Viewer" from the drop-down menu, type an invitation message in the "Message" box, then press "Send" to send the invitation.

Alternatively, click the “Change to anyone with the link” option. This will give anyone with the document URL access to the document.

Press the "Change to anyone with the link" option to set sharing options by document URL access.

To ensure view-only access, select “Viewer” from the drop-down menu. To copy the link to your clipboard, select the “Copy Link” option.

Click “Done” to save your new settings.

Set the link viewer options to "Viewer." Press "Copy Link" to copy the link, then press "Done" to save the settings.

With view-only access enabled, anyone with the document link (or a direct invitation to view the document) will be able to view the contents of the file, but won’t be able to view the version history.

Delete a Google Docs Document Version History

If you want to completely erase the version history of a Google Docs document, you’ll need to make a copy of it. This will remove the previous, saved versions of the file, leaving only the current version available to any viewers and editors.

From a Google Drive Folder

To do this, open the Google Drive folder containing your document. Right-click the document, then select the “Make a Copy” option.

To copy a file, right-click the file in Google Drive and press the "Make a Copy" option.

A copy of the document (with “Copy Of” added to the filename) will appear in your document folder.

An example of a copied file in Google Drive.

In the Google Docs Document

You can also make a copy in your Google Docs document directly. To do this, open the document and select File > Make A Copy to duplicate the document.

To make a copy of a Google Docs file, press File > Make a Copy.

In the “Copy Document” box, provide a new filename and location for the duplicated file.

If you want to copy over comments or suggestions or share the file with the same users as the original, make sure to check the appropriate checkboxes below the “Folder” drop-down menu. When you’re ready, click “OK” to copy the file.

In the "Copy Document" box, confirm the name, location and share settings of the copied file, and determine whether to duplicate comments and suggestions. Press "OK" to save.

Once you’ve confirmed your options, a copy of the file will appear in the document folder you selected.

Using the Version History Menu

If you want to copy a certain version of a document and delete all other versions, start by opening the Google Docs document. Next, click File > Version History > See Version History to view the version history for your document.

Press File > Version History > See Version History to view the version history of a Google Docs document.

Alternatively, select the “Last Edit” link, which is visible next to the “Help” option. This will only be visible for users with “Editor” access to a document.

Click the "Last Edit" link at the top of a Google Docs document to view the version history.

In the “Version History” menu, click the three-dot menu icon next to an entry in the panel on the right-hand side.

From the drop-down menu, select the “Make a Copy” option.

To make a copy of a version of a Google Docs document, press the three-dots menu icon next to an entry in the "Version History" menu, then press "Make a Copy" to duplicate that version.

In the “Copy Version” menu, confirm where you’d like to save the copied file and provide a new file name.

Select the “Share it with the same people” checkbox to share the file with the same users (if you wish to). Click “OK” to make the copy.

In the "Copy Version" box, confirm the name and location of the duplicate, and confirm whether or not you want to share it with the same users as the original. Press "OK" to save and make the copy.

The version of the file you copied will be saved to the folder you selected.

RELATED: 10 Tips and Tricks for Google Docs





This post was written by Ben Stockton and was first posted to www.howtogeek.com



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