Understanding Versioning in SharePoint: How it Works


Versioning is creating and managing multiple versions of a document or file. It is an essential feature of many productivity tools, including Microsoft 365. Versioning helps track changes made to a document over time, enabling users to revert to previous versions when needed. This article discusses the basics of versioning in Microsoft 365 and best practices for using this feature effectively.

Understanding Versioning in Microsoft 365

Versioning is an important feature in Microsoft 365 that allows users to keep track of changes made to a document or file over time. When a document is saved, a new version is created, and users can access previous versions to review or restore them if needed. Understanding versioning in Microsoft 365 is essential for users who work collaboratively on documents. It lets them see who made changes and when and ensures they work with the most up-to-date file version. Additionally, versioning can help users avoid data loss or accidental deletions, making it a useful tool for managing documents and files in Microsoft 365.

The two types of versioning available in Microsoft 365 are major and minor. Minor versions are typically used for documents still in draft form and have yet to be finalized. They are often denoted by decimals, such as 0.1, 0.2, and 0.3. On the other hand, major versions are used for final versions of documents that have been approved or published. They are usually denoted by whole numbers, such as 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0. When major versioning is used, minor versions are not visible outside of the document library. However, users can publish major versions to make them visible to others. Both major and minor versions enable users to track changes made to a document over time and access previous versions if necessary.

Best Practices for Versioning in Microsoft 365

1. Enable Versioning for Important Documents

Versioning is not enabled by default in Microsoft 365, so it is essential for important documents. Enabling versioning ensures that all changes made to the document are tracked and can be reverted if necessary.

2. Use Major and Minor Versions Appropriately

It is important to use major and minor versions appropriately. Minor versions should be used for documents that are still in draft form and have yet to be finalized. Major versions should be used for final versions of documents that have been published or approved.

3. Use Descriptive Version Labels

When creating a new version, it is important to use descriptive labels that indicate what changes were made. This makes it easier to identify and restore previous versions when needed.

4. Limit the Number of Versions

More document versions can lead to clarity and make it easier to find the correct version. It is recommended to limit the number of versions to a reasonable number, such as 10 or 15.

5. Use Version History to Review Changes

Microsoft 365 provides version history, which allows users to review the changes made to a document over time. This feature can identify when and by whom changes were made, making it easier to collaborate on documents and track progress.


Versioning is an essential feature of Microsoft 365 that helps track changes made to a document over time. By enabling versioning and following best practices for using this feature, users can ensure that their documents are always up to date and that previous versions can be accessed and restored. Using descriptive version labels, limiting the number of versions, and using version history to review changes are just a few of the best practices that can be used to make the most of versioning in Microsoft 365.

Looking for experts in Office 365, SharePoint, and all things Microsoft? Look no further than Alcero! Ready to see what we can do for you? Contact us today to request a demo and experience the power of our SharePoint services firsthand.