Enable and configure versioning for a list or library

Do you want to retain versions each time an item it is edited? If so, how many versions? Do you want all site users to see all draft versions, or should they be visible only to the originator and specific people in your organization? The decision you make in each of these cases depends on the type and importance of items in your lists and libraries, the purpose of each item, the needs of your user group, and the level of security you must maintain.

In this article


Why enable versioning?

When versioning is enabled in site lists, you can track and manage information as it evolves. You can look at earlier versions and recover them, if necessary. That is very handy, for example, when people realize that earlier versions of an item might be more accurate than later ones. Some organizations retain multiple versions of items in their lists for legal reasons or audit purposes.

By default, versioning is turned off. To turn it on and implement your versioning decisions, you must either have Full Control or Design permissions.

You might also want to track both major and minor versions of a file. A major version can signal that a document is ready for review by a wide audience, whereas the minor (draft) version is a work-in-progress and not yet ready for wide circulation.

 Note    Major and minor versions are only available for libraries, not for lists.

Versioning settings – How they work

The Versioning Settings dialog contains three sections for lists and four sections for libraries. Each section requires decisions when you set up a list or library. Of course, if you have the necessary permissions, you can change the settings at a later date.

  • Content Approval   . Use this section to decide whether or not to require content approval for items submitted to the list.
  • Item (or Document) Version History   . Use this section to select the various versioning options that are available to you. The following table lists each option and the impact of choosing it.

 Note    The Versioning Settings dialog box options differs slightly depending on whether you are working with lists or libraries. The table below reflects options available for both lists and library versioning settings.

Selection Impact

Create a version each time you edit an item in this list/document library?

No is the default setting. For lists, If you select Yes, a new version of the item is created each time the item is edited.

For libraries only, you can select Create major versions or Create major and minor (draft) versions.

Keep the following number of versions

If the check box for this optional setting is selected, the number below it indicates how many versions of the item are retained in the list. If, for example, that number is 25, the oldest version is deleted when the 26th version is created. Then, only versions 2-26 are available.

Keep drafts for the following number of major/approved versions

This option applies only when Yes is selected in the Content Approval section and in the Item/Document Version History section of the Versioning Settings dialog. If that is the case, you can determine the number of drafts that you want to keep for each major or approved version. Unless you have a legal or otherwise special requirement, you probably don’t need to retain all drafts for each version. You might, for example, opt to retain drafts for only the most recent five versions.
  • Draft Item Security section   . Use this section to determine who should see drafts of items that are not yet approved.

 Important    The set of options in this section are only available when the Content Approval section is set to Yes.

You can allow any user who has Read permissions to the list to view the drafts, or you can restrict the view to only those users who can edit items or to only the author of the item and the people who can approve items.

  • Require Check Out (for library versioning only)   . Select this option if you want to protect documents in this library from being modified by multiple users at the same time. Users will have to check out documents before editing them, and then check them back in when done.

 Note    If the library will be storing Microsoft Project (.mpp) files that are synchronized with task lists on your site, clear this check box.

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Enable and configure versioning in a list or library

Take the following steps to enable and configure versioning in a list.

  1. Click the name of the library or list on the Quick Launch, or click SettingsOptions button, and click Site contents, and then look for and click the title of the library or list you want to add versioning to.

Select library

  1. On the ribbon, on the Library or List tab, click Library Settings or List Settings.
  2. Under General Settings, click Versioning settings. The Versioning Settings dialog opens.
  3. In the Content Approval section, under Require content approval for submitted items?, select Yes.
  4. In the Item Version History or the Document Version History section, select if you want to create a major version or a major and minor version.
  5. Optional: Select the number of versions you want to retain in the list.
  6. Optional: Select the number of approved versions for which you want to retain drafts. This option is available when you select Yes in the Content Approval section.
  7. Determine which users should be allowed to see draft of items that have not been approved. This option is only available when Require content approval for submitted items is set to Yes. In the Draft Item Security section, select one of the following.
  • Any user who can read items. This selection allows access to anyone who has Read permissions to the site.
  • Only users who can edit items. This selection restricts the view of drafts to those who have permissions to edit.
  • Only users who can approve items (and the author of the item). This selection restricts the view to only the original author of the item and those who have permissions to approve items in the list.
  1. If you want users to check out documents before they can make any changes to the library, then in the Require checkout section, click Yes.

     Note    The Require checkout section appears only for a library.

  2. Click OK.

Remove versioning from a list or library

You may determine, after a while, that versioning is not really necessary for your list. If you have Full Control or Design permissions, you can remove versioning from the list.

Take the following steps to enable and configure versioning in a list.

  1. Click the name of the library or list on the Quick Launch, or click SettingsOptions button, and click Site contents, and then look for and click the title of the library or list.

Select library

  1. On the ribbon, on the Library or List tab, click Library Settings or List Settings.
  2. Under General Settings, click Versioning settings. The Versioning Settings dialog opens.
  3. On the List Settings page, under General Settings, click Versioning settings.
  4. In the Item Version History section, under Create a version each time you edit an item in this list/library?, select No.
  5. Click OK.

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Other topics you may be interested in:

How does versioning work in a list or library?
Set up a library to require check-out of files

 
 
Applies to:
SharePoint Online Enterprise (E1), SharePoint Online Enterprise (E3 & E4), SharePoint Online Midsized Business, SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Enterprise (E1 & E2), SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Enterprise (E3 & E4), SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Midsized Business, SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Small Business, SharePoint Online Small Business, SharePoint Server 2013 Enterprise, SharePoint Server 2013 Standard