Microsoft Word’s hidden feature: Previous Version (Vista like)

Not many people are aware of this nice little feature in Microsoft Word 2002 and above, simply called Version. It can be found under File>Version menu. When turned on, it automatically keep tracks of each “save” you make to the word file and enables you to retrieve the previous version of the file. All versions of the file are stored within one document so you don’t have your hard disk cluttered with different versions of the same file. Windows will show only one document when viewed from Explorer, and when opened it will open the latest version. The previous versions of the word file are available through the Version menu. For each version, Word records the date and time when the version was saved making easy retrieval.

If you want to extend this feature to other files as well, then there is a Yahoo widget called Versionator. All you need to do is drag a file or folder to the Versionator’s window and it will automatically save it with the date, time and a comment. You can retrieve the file later.

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This Article Has 9 Comments
  1. Anonymous Reply

    What happened to versioning?

    The Versioning feature isn’t available in Microsoft Office Word 2007. If you save a document that contains versioning in the Microsoft Office Word 97-2003 file format and then open it in Office Word 2007, you will lose access to the versions.

    Important If you open the document in Office Word 2007 and you save the document in either Word 97-2003 or Office Word 2007 file formats, you will permanently lose all versions.

    Use the Version Extraction Tool
    You can save versions of a document as multiple files by using the Version Extraction Tool (VET), which is included in the Office Migration Planning Manager (OMPM). The OMPM and the VET are available on the Microsoft TechNet Web site.

  2. Kaushik Patowary Reply

    Thanks for the useful information.

  3. Unknown Reply

    Does anyone know of a way to extract the version infomration and put it autmagically in the document (like the SCCS variables of yesteryear)? Would be cool to help track copies of versions of copies.


  4. Anonymous Reply

    I am running XP and using MS Office 2007. When opening Word and clicking on the Office Button there are no documents listed under Previous Documents. Is there a setting to turn that feature on or isn't it supported when running XP. I would think it wouldn't matter which OS I was running and that it is a Word feature.


  5. Kaushik Patowary Reply

    File versioning is not available in Office 2007. Read the first comment.

  6. Anonymous Reply

    I think you're being a bit hasty there Kaushik…

    I think the anonymous poster wanted the most recently used files list, not the previous versions of the current file…

  7. Anonymous Reply

    Yet another reason why Microsoft and upgrading Microsoft products sucks. I learned how to save and reopen versions of the same WORD document in WORD 2003 and find this feature has not been dropped from WORD 2007. WTF

  8. Anonymous Reply

    Actually you can restore previous versions even with Word 2007.
    Locate the file on your hard drive. Right click on the file, then select Properties. Select the tab, Previous Versions. Previously saved versions will show up on a list. It worked for me, hope this helps.

  9. Anonymous Reply

    I too am looking for the previous versions option on Word 2007 (having just noticed a chunk of text missing – though I don't know when or how it happened).

    You raised my hopes there Anonymous, but there is no Previous Versions tab in Properties on my Word 2007. Is there some way of activating this feature?

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