A faster way to review Office document versions

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OneDrive will automatically save past versions of an Office document, here how to access those revisions quickly.

The advertised way to view a document history is through the Activity button, next to Share on the top right.  In Office 2016 for Windows, Office 365.

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The Activity pane shows a list of versions available, who worked on the document and when it was saved.

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Click on ‘Open version’ to either view that document revision, compare it with the current document or merge it.

In Word it’s slow and there’s no way to preview the version.

Previewing is vital to figuring out which past version has the edits you need but it’s clumsy in Office.

Faster in the web browser

A much faster option is available in your web browser.  Go to your OneDrive account and select the same document in the browser and choose ‘Version history’ from the extended menu.

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Now there’s a left-pane with the same list of versions that were in Word.  The difference is that you can click on and ‘Older version’ and view that document in the browser.

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Once you’ve found the revision you want there are choices.

  • Copy the text or content from the revision preview into the current document version.
  • Open that document revision in the Office program then use the compare or merge options.

Search please

Having all those past document versions is great but it’s difficult to find what you need.

Microsoft, could you please add a search function within document revisions?

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