Google Sheets Version History: How to View, Edit, & Delete

Google Sheets is a fantastic spreadsheet tool that offers an extensive set of functions and handy sharing features that help make collaborative work a lot easier. The best part is that Google Sheets is free to use for small businesses or individuals.

But, there are some downsides to the collaborative nature of Google Sheets.

When several people work on the same project, errors are bound to happen. These errors can cause significant disruptions to sensitive items like spreadsheets. During these times, it’s often convenient to have a backup you can count on.

This is where the Version History feature comes in. Read on to learn what Google Sheets version history is and how to use it.

What is Version History in Google Sheets?

The Google Sheets history of changes to a spreadsheet is called Version History. It saves every change made to work across all users. For the sake of privacy, only the owner of the file or its editors can see the previous versions and their names, while a person with viewing permission can only view the current iteration of the sheet.

This feature eliminates the need to keep multiple files locally or in the cloud as all the changes stay connected to the file in Google Sheets.

The following guide will show you how to see edit history in Google Sheets.

How to See Google Sheets History

To view history in Google Sheets, load the spreadsheet in your browser. Make sure enough changes are made to the spreadsheet so Google Sheets can create a history log of the changes. You won’t see the version history in a new spreadsheet or one you’ve hardly touched.

There are essentially two methods to check the Google spreadsheet history.

The first way to do this is to click on the Last edit was. You can see this option at the top of the screen in a spreadsheet that has had at least one change made to it.

The second method involves the following steps:

Step 1: Click on File in the top bar. A drop-down menu should show up. There, click on Version History.

Step 2: A sub-menu should show up to name the current version or see the version history. Click on See version history.

Step 3: Select the version you wish to view—You should see Version history in the sidebar to the right side of the screen. Clicking on the triangle icon lets you see each change made to the file to find the exact version you’re looking for here.

You can also see the name of the person who made the changes under the version’s name. If you haven’t named your changes, the name will be the time and date of the last change in that file.

Step 4: (How Google Sheets can restore a previous version) To restore a particular version, simply click on the three dots on the right side and click on Restore this version in the drop-down menu.

Adding Names to Google Sheets Version History

The Google Sheets version history menu can become very tedious, especially if you have dozens of versions of the same file. The auto-naming scheme doesn’t help that much either, as the dates and times can become more and more confusing as time passes.

One method to make this easier is to give specific names to the versions. You don’t have to name every minor change, but naming a critical version of the spreadsheet can benefit you later.

If you wish to name the current version, you can click on File > Version history > Name current version.

To rename an older version, follow the steps mentioned in the previous heading or open the Version History using the Ctrl+ Shift+ Alt+ H shortcut.

Then, click on the three dots to open the options and click on Name this version. Type in your desired name, then simply press the Enter button on your keyboard to save the changes.

Deleting Version History in Google Sheets

Unfortunately, there is no option in Google Sheets that allows you to remove a specific version in Google Sheets version history. However, there is a method to wipe away all previous changes and start version history afresh.

You will need to make a new copy of the spreadsheet to do this. This carries over the data from the previous spreadsheet with fresh version history.

You can also completely delete all versions through your Google Drive by navigating to Manage versions from the three-dot menu.

To create a new copy, click on File and Make a copy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Google Sheets Have a Version History?

When collaborating in Google Sheets, it can often become confusing when multiple people make changes. Sometimes a wrong change is made, so you may need to go back to revert the changes or to a previous version of the document. So, Google Sheets does have a Version History feature.

This feature saves backups of all the changes made in the spreadsheet file, which you can return to if needed. Just click on Last edit was X(time) ago to open the version history or press Ctrl+ Shift+ Alt+ H.

Who Can See Version History in Google Sheets?

The person who owns the file on their account can see the version history. If using the sharing features, the only people who can see the version history are those with owner or editor privileges.

How Do I See History in Google Sheets?

You can see the Version History either by using the Ctrl+ Shift+ Alt+ H shortcut or by heading to File > Version history > See version history.

How Long Does Google Sheets Keep Version History?

There is no limit to how far back the Version History is. However, Google Sheets may optimize the storage space by either merging some older versions or deleting some of the oldest changes if the drive memory is close to full. But, you can recover deleted files..

Why Can’t I See Version History in Google Sheets?

If you’re unable to see the Google Sheets Version History of a shared document, it’s most likely due to you not having the appropriate permission. Ask the original owner to change your rights to “can edit” instead of “can view” as the latter can only see the spreadsheet while the editor can organize and add to the spreadsheet.

How Do I Delete My Version History?

To delete the Version History, go to drive.google.com and click on the spreadsheet you want to make changes to. On the top-right, click on the three dots and click on Manage versions. There, simply click on the version you wish to delete, click on the three dots, and then click Delete.

Alternately, you can click on File > Make a copy which creates a new spreadsheet of the same data with fresh version history.

A Recap of How to See Version History in Google Sheets

We hope this Google Sheets view history guide has helped you understand everything you need to know. To summarize the steps you need to take, you just have to navigate to File> Version history> See version history and select the version you want to load. Simple, right?

If you enjoyed learning about Google Sheets version history, we have plenty of other in-depth guides available. Here are some simple guides you may find useful:

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Jake Wright

Jake Wright

Jake is a spreadsheet expert and content writer from New Zealand. He has a double Bachelor's Degree in Teaching and has been working in the education industry for over 11 years. His experience makes him adept at breaking down complex topics so that everyone is able to understand.