When you edit a Google Docs document, you can check the changes in the version history. If you don’t want this history to be stored, learn how to delete version history in Google Docs using this guide.
When you’re working on a document, it can go through a number of changes and revisions. Google Docs allows you to take a look back at earlier versions of your document in the version history. You can see each edit you made and when you made it.
If you’re sharing the document with others, however, you might not want them to see that embarrassing first draft. The only way to ensure this is to completely remove all the version history from your document, although this is trickier than you might expect.
Here’s how to delete version history in Google Docs.
How to See Version History in Google Docs
Before you delete the version history for one of your documents, you might want to take a look at it. Once you’ve deleted it (using the steps in the next section to help you), you won’t be able to retrieve it again.
Version history provides a list of the edits made to your document. By clicking on a specific edit, you can see what changes were made to the document at that point in time. This includes any deleted or new text or images.
To view version history in Google Docs:
- Open the document you want to view the version history for.
- Click File.
- Hover over Version History and select See Version History.
- Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Atl+Shift+H on Windows or Cmd+Option+Shift+H on Mac.
- In the right-hand menu, click on a time to see the revisions that were made at that point.
- In each version, new text appears in green, and deleted text appears as green strike-through text.
How to Name a Version of a Document in Google Docs
When you’re working on a document, it can change significantly over time. Wading through the numerous versions to try to find the exact previous version you want can take a lot of time.
That’s why it’s possible to name the current version of your document so that you can find that named version again quickly and easily.
To name a version of a document in Google Docs:
- Open the file you want to save a version of.
- Click File.
- Hover over Version History and select Name Current Version.
- Give your version a name that will make it easily recognizable and click Save.
- You will now see this named version listed when you view the version history.
How to Delete Version History in Google Docs by Creating a Copy
If you’re sharing a document with other people, you might not want them to see all the various versions you’ve been working on. Unfortunately, there’s no simple way to delete the version history from a document.
The only thing you can do is create a copy of the document and delete the original. The new copy will not contain any version history.
To delete version history in Google Docs:
- Open the file you want to delete the version history for.
- Click File.
- Select Make A Copy.
- Keep the suggested file name and click Make A Copy.
- The new copy will now have no version history beyond the moment it was created.
- You can now delete the original and rename the copy to the same name as the original file.
Learn More About Google Docs
Learning how to delete version history in Google Docs ensures that other people don’t have access to previous drafts of your documents when you share them. There are plenty of other ways that you can take more control of your Google Docs, however.
For example, it’s possible to be anonymous in Google Docs to make changes secretly. You can also learn how to check for plagiarism in Google Docs content—useful if you’re an academic. And if you’re out of Wi-Fi range, you can also learn how to use Google Docs offline.