File and Folder Version control is the process by which different drafts and versions of a document or record are managed. It is a tool which tracks a series of draft documents, culminating in a final version. It provides an audit trail for the revision and update of these finalized versions.
Why do we need version control?
How do I use version control?
Version control should be used where more than one version of a document exists, or where this is likely to be the case in the future.
Version control can be achieved by adding a number at the end of a file title. Each successive draft of a document is numbered sequentially from 0.1, 0.2, 0.3… until a finalized version is complete. This would be titled version 1.0. If version 1.0 is to be revised, drafts would be numbered as 1.1, 1.2, etc. until version 2.0 is complete.
In addition to adding the version number to the end of the file title, it should also be displayed within the document. The version number should appear on any document title page, and also in the header or footer of each page.
To ensure against the accidental loss of final versions of records, a read-only tag can also be applied. Should any changes to this document be made, the user will be prompted to save the file with a new title.
To add a read-only tag:
- In Windows Explorer or My Computer, right click on the document and select ‘Properties’;
- On the ‘General’ tab check the ‘Read-only’ box;
- Click ‘Apply’ and ‘OK’.
Version control table:
In some cases it may also be appropriate to use a version control table. This provides further details of what changes were made to a document, when, and by whom. A version control table is recommended for any formal Agency procedures, policies, strategies and project documentation. It can be added at the beginning or end of the document itself, or created as a separate document, and stored in the paper or electronic folder.
The version control table (see example below) must be updated each time a change is made to the document.
- The new version number;
- The purpose of the change or the change itself;
- The person making the change;
- The date of the change.
Microsoft Versioning Tool:
Microsoft Word also offers a versioning tool. However, it is not advisable to use this function as it substantially increases the size of your document, which in turn wastes valuable server space.
Please contact the ITHelpdesk if additional information or clarification is required.
Your IT Team.