Think about collaborating with someone on the same spreadsheet ten years ago. Sounds frustrating, right? You’d make changes to your spreadsheet and send it; when you get it back, it’s an entirely new spreadsheet. You won’t be able to know what changes occurred and when. You may have lost essential data in the spreadsheet forever.
However, now times have changed, and collaboration is easier than ever. Google Sheets has a range of standout collaboration features. Not only that, but Google also keeps track of the changes made to the spreadsheet. This article will discuss some of the Google Sheets track changes features embedded in the software.
Why Should You Track Changes in Google Sheets?
Tracking the changes in a spreadsheet allows you to see where edits occurred, and the time they were made. If you don’t like a change, you can roll back to a previous spreadsheet version.
The Google Sheets track changes feature doesn’t work like other software in the Google ecosystem like Docs, where you have a feature allowing you to see all the changes made to the document. Instead, you need to track the changes using other functions.
Google Sheets tracking works using these methods:
- You can get a notification via email when a change is made.
- You can track the changes made in the cell.
- You can view the entire version history.
You can also protect cells or even entire sheets from the changes.
How to Track Changes in Google Sheets
You can track the changes made to your spreadsheet on Google Sheets in several ways. Let’s take a look at them:
Track Changes in Google Sheets Using Notification Rules
This is the most comprehensive tracker in Google Sheets. When you enable email notifications, you will receive an email when changes happen within the spreadsheet. You can customize the settings here and choose whether you want notifications to arrive instantly when a change occurs or if you want to receive a list of changes at the end of the day as a daily digest.
You can also enable email notifications for either when the spreadsheet changes or when a user submits a form.
This is particularly useful for people who use Google Forms to collect information for their spreadsheets. When the option is activated, when a user clicks on submit, the creator of the spreadsheet and the form will receive an email telling them about the changes.
Enabling Notification Rules
Here are the steps you need to follow to activate notification rules in your spreadsheet:
- Open the spreadsheet where you want to enable email notification for.
- Click on the Tools button in the main toolbar of the spreadsheet. This will show a dropdown menu.
- Click on Notification rules here. This will open a smaller window in the middle of the screen. You will be able to select your desired options here.
- Here you have to choose the settings for two sections. The first one dictates whether you want to be notified of changes in the spreadsheet or when a form is submitted. In the second option, you can choose if you wish to receive a notification immediately when a change is made or if you want to receive the list of changes at a specified time. Select the option you want here.
- Click on Save to save the changes.
To edit or delete the notification rules:
- Head to the Set notification rules menu by following the same steps mentioned above. You will be able to see your previously added rules there.
- Beside the rule, you can see the Edit and Delete option.
- In the bottom part of the window, you can click on Add another notification rule to create new rules.
Tracking Changes in Google Sheets With Version History
If you don’t want to receive emails in your inbox, you can use the version history feature in Google Sheets. Change save automatically, so you don’t have to worry about missing out on any changes.
The changes in the version history can be viewed by the creator of the spreadsheet and the people who have edit access to the file. The changes save to Google’s cloud servers, and you can name these changes to distinguish the edits.
How to See Changes in Google Sheets by Viewing Version History
Here are the steps you need to follow to access the version history in Google Sheets:
- Click on File in the main toolbar of your spreadsheet.
- In the drop-down menu that opens, click on Version history.
- In the submenu that shows up, click on See version history.
A sidebar will open up on the right side of the screen. There you can select the version you wish to restore or rename.
How to See Edit History in Google Sheets Using Cell History
What if there is a specific part of the spreadsheet you want to check the version history of? Opening the particular version to identify the one cell you want to check can be a pain. Thankfully, Google Sheets have a feature that allows you to view the edit history of a specific cell in your spreadsheet.
Here are the steps you need to follow to do this:
- Click on the cell to select it. This will be indicated with a blue border around the cell.
- Right-click on the cell. This will open a menu allowing you to choose from several options.
- Here, click on Show edit history.
This will open a small window beside the cell where you can scroll left or right between the versions. Note that this history won’t show changes to the cell’s formatting. Sheets will only show changes to the cell’s values. Feel free to revert to a previous value from here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Do Track Changes in Google Sheets?
You can use the version history feature in Google Sheets. The changes in the version history can be viewed by the creator of the spreadsheet and the people who have edit access to the file. The changes are saved on Google’s cloud servers, and you can name these changes to distinguish them changes. Every small change saves, so you don’t have to worry about missing out on any changes.
How Do I Turn On Tracking in Google Sheets?
Version history is automatically enabled whenever a new spreadsheet is created. Whenever a change is made, it is logged. To view these changes, click on File in the main toolbar of your spreadsheet. In the drop-down menu that opens, click on Version history. In the submenu that shows up, click on See version history.
How Can You Know When Changes Are Made by Someone When a Google Sheet Is Shared?
When you enable email notifications, you will receive an email when changes occur in the spreadsheet. You can customize the settings in the notification rules menu and choose whether you want notifications instantly when a change is made or if you want to receive a list of changes at the end of the day as a daily digest.
It may also be a good idea to share single sheets where edits aren’t a problem.
Can I Use Add-Ons to Track Changes in Google Sheets?
If the built-in ways to track changes aren’t thorough enough, you could use one of the best Google Sheets add-ons to track changes instead. Although many of the add-ons that track changes are expensive, you’ll need to weigh up if it’s worth it first.
We hope this Google Sheets track changes guide helped you better understand how to keep a record of the version history. You can track the changes made to your spreadsheet in several ways. Learning to check them helps you stay updated on all the changes made to a sheet.