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Document Version Control

Applied IT (Year 11) - Managing Data (U2)

Jeckmen Wu

Document Version Control

Document version control encompasses the process of keeping track of and documenting different versions of a document to ensure that all changes are monitored. This makes it easy to identify, review, and reverse any modifications, if necessary. Additionally, when collaborating with others, it's crucial to ensure that everyone is working on the correct and most recent version of the document.


  1. Systematic Naming – establish a consistent and comprehensible naming system that includes the date & version number in the file name (e.g. Elucidate_AIT11_Notes_YYYY-MM-DD_V1)

  2. Document Version Control Table – create a log on a separate spreadsheet or at the start of the document to record the version number, changes made, reasons for those changes (comments/notes), author/s, and date.

  3. Save Documents as Read-Only – this ensures that previous versions are not mistakenly overwritten by forcing users to save any changes as a new document.

  4. Version Control System – a VCS is a software that automates the process of managing and tracking changes to files. One of its main features is called “branches”, which allows for the creation of independent copies of files that branch out from the original, enabling users to make modifications without affecting the original document (i.e. the trunk/master branch). By creating new branches, team members can work on the same version of the document simultaneously but independently. Once the changes have been finalised, the branch can be automatically or manually merged back into the trunk or another branch by comparing & combining the changes. “Branching” is a particularly practical and beneficial tool as each branch can be named to keep track of a specific set of changes. For example, an "experiments" branch can be created to allow users to trial new ideas without affecting the main version. One of the most popular version control systems is called Git.

  5. Collaboration Tools – allow team members to work on a document together in real-time, which ensures that everyone is working on the latest version. Some collaboration tools, such as Google Docs, offer built-in document version control features that automatically save a version history with information about who made the changes and when. Users can also name these versions within the document and add comments to provide context for the changes made. These features enhance the version management process and reduce the number of documents created.

Image: Branching in version control, Image by WebiNerds (

Image: Version history in Google Docs, Image by Zapier (  

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