Document versioning – Organizing your digital files

I like to keep incremental versions of documents I am working on. This way I feel I can go back a step if I mess something up. It also makes me feel better about deleting sentences and paragraphs I may have previously laboured over. I feel like I can always get them back if I want to – of course I almost never do, but there is a comfort in having the previous versions there just in case.

Word processing software like Word has versioning capabilities, but I tend to use a simple system of serially saving the file with a new name. I keep most of the name the same and just add a version number to the end of the filename. I often get up to version 17 or so when writing a particular section. Its really easy to see which is the most recent version – it’s the version with the biggest number.


If you print out versions its really important to put the name and date on each one so you can see which is which when you have a few hanging around. You can get Word to do this automatically by putting the filename and date fields into a header or footer . To see how to do this see this posting Automatically updating headers and footers on .



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