You’re editing a Google Docs file and realize you need a section of the content you’ve already deleted. Don’t panic: Google Docs’ version history shows you all of the edits you’ve made.
But what if you want to remove all of your edits entirely? In this post, we’ll cover how to delete a version history in Google Docs.
Table of Contents
Method 1: How to Delete Version History in Google Docs by Using a New Document
Since version histories in Google Docs are created every time you edit a document, you can remove the version history in your Google Docs simply by using a new document.
- Go to Google Docs and open your document.
- Open another tab and create a new document.
- Return to your original document and press Ctrl + A (Windows) or Cmd + A (Mac) to select the entire content.
- Press Ctrl + C (Windows) or Cmd + C (Mac) to copy the highlighted content.
- Go to your new document and press Ctrl + V (Windows) or Cmd + V (Mac) to paste the original document.
- Rename your new document by clicking “Untitled document” in the upper-left corner of the page.
When you check the version history of the new document, you’ll see that it only has two entries (representing the document’s creation and the pasting of the content). This information is much shorter than what exists in the original document.
Method 2: How To Hide Edit History on Google Docs by Creating a Copy of Your Document
Don’t want to go through the hassle of opening a different tab to create a new document? An easier way to delete the version history on Google Docs is by making a copy of the original document.
- In your browser, open the original Google Docs file.
- Navigate to the “File” > “Make a copy.”
- In the pop-up box, type a name for your file or leave it as is.
- Press “Make a copy” to create a new document.
- Wait for the new copy to open in another tab on your browser. When you check the version history of the copy, there will only be one entry.
Alternative Method: How To Hide Version History on Google Docs
Instead of deleting the Google Doc history, you can consider hiding the edit history on your Google Docs. While other users are blocked from seeing it, you (as the owner or editor of the file) can still view the entire version history. Follow these steps to do that:
- Open the Google Docs file.
- Select the “Share” button at the top right.
- If you’ve shared the document with specific email addresses before, press “Editor” next to their names and change each to “Viewer.”
- If you haven’t shared the document with specific people yet, click “Restricted Access” and change it to “Anyone with the link.” Leave the role as “Viewer.”
- Once you’re done, click on “Save.”
Anyone who opens your document will no longer have access to the version history (as shown here):
Bonus: How To Name a Version of a Document in Google Docs
If you’re frequently editing your Google Docs file, version histories can get messy — fast. To avoid getting lost in your long list of changes, you can name these document versions.
If you need to restore or check edits that have happened, having specific versions labeled makes it a lot easier to review. Here’s how you can name a specific version in your Google Docs:
- Open your Google Docs file.
- Go to “File” > “Version History” > “See version history.” Alternatively, press Ctrl + Alt + Shift + H (Windows) or Cmd + Option + Shift + H (Mac) to open the version history.
- In the version history panel on the right, scroll through the list and find the specific version you want to name.
- Hover your mouse over the specific version and select the three vertical dots (⋮) next to it.
- Click on “Name this version.”
- In the text field, enter the name of the version.
- Press “Enter” to save the name.
- Repeat Steps 3-7 for the other versions you want to name. Only 40 named versions per document are allowed.
Related: Google Sheets Version History
Frequently Asked Questions
Who Can See Version History in Google Docs?
Anyone who can edit the Google Docs file can see the version history. This includes the owner of the file and any “Editors” access.
How Long Does a Version History Last in Google Docs?
Google doesn’t mention an official time limit for the Google Docs version history. However, over time, you might not see all of the versions in your document (as they’ll be combined with each other to cut down on storage space).
When you know how to delete version history in Google Docs, you can rest easy knowing that others won’t be able to check how you wrote and edited your document. This not only increases your privacy, but it can also save you from embarrassing editorial moments.
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