Delete a previous version of an item or file in SharePoint

Applies to: SharePoint Online, Office for business, SharePoint Server 2016, SharePoint Server 2013 Enterprise, SharePoint Server 2013, SharePoint Foundation 2010, SharePoint Server 2010, SharePoint Online Small Business, SharePoint Server 2007.

If your SharePoint lists or libraries are constructed to track versions, you can erase a previous version, all versions, or just minor versions of an item or file. To learn how you can restore a version, see Restore a previous version of an item or file. To turn on versioning, see Turn on version history in SharePoint.

Updated November 21, 2016 thanks to customer feedback.

Delete previous versions of items or files in SharePoint

  1. Launch the list or library from the Quick Launch bar.

If your list’s or library’s name of your list is not displayed, select Site contents or View All Site Content, and then press the name of your list or library.

  1. Right-click on the space between the item or document name and date, and then pick Version History from the menu. You might need to scroll the menu to see Version History.

If you don’t see Version History, click the ellipse () in the dialogue and then click Version History.

You’ll see a list of versions of the file.

Version History dialog box with 3 versions.
  1. In the Version History dialogue, hover next to the version you want and click the down arrow on the right side to get a list of options. Click Restore.
Version history options (view, restore, delete)
  1. Click OK to restore the current version as the latest.
Delete file version confirmation dialog

Note: SharePoint moves versions you delete to the recycle bin. For more info on that, see How can I recover deleted versions of items or files in SharePoint?

Delete all previous versions of items or files in SharePoint Online

  1. Launch the list or library from the Quick Launch bar.

If your list’s or library’s name of your list is not displayed, select Site contents or View All Site Content, and then press the name of your list or library.

  1. Right-click on the space between the item or document name and date, and then pick Version History from the menu. You might need to scroll the menu to see Version History.

If you don’t see Version History, click the ellipse () in the dialogue and then click Version History.

You’ll see a list of versions of the file.

  1. In the Version History dialogue, click Delete all Versions.
Version dialog, with Delete all versions highlighted
  1. To remove all the file/item versions you’ve chosen, press OK.
Delete file version confirmation dialog

Delete minor versions of files in SharePoint Online

Note: SharePoint does not support minor versions in Lists.

  1. Launch the list or library from the Quick Launch bar.

If your list’s or library’s name of your list is not displayed, select Site contents or View All Site Content, and then press the name of your list or library.

  1. Right-click on the space between the item or document name and date, and then pick Version History from the menu. You might need to scroll the menu to see Version History.

If you don’t see Version History, click the ellipse () in the dialogue and then click Version History.

You’ll see a list of versions of the file.

  1. In the Version History dialogue, click Delete Minor Versions.
Version dialog box with Delete minor versions highlighted

  1. To erase the file minor versions you’ve picked, press OK.
Delete file version confirmation dialog

What happens when I delete a minor version?

The minor version and its version number are erased once you delete a version. The other version numbers remain fixed. For example, if you have a document that has minor versions 3.1 and 3.2, and you want to delete version 3.1, the subsequent version history displays merely minor versions 3.0 and 3.2.

Version history with version 3.1 eliminated

How can I recover deleted versions of items or files in SharePoint?

Deleted versions are kept in the SharePoint Recycle bin for a maximum of 90 days. For more details on the SharePoint Recycle bin, read one of the following:

Local deletions – If you deleted your file on your computer, rather than from an online library, use the Windows recycle bin to restore it. You can reach it from the desktop. If it’s somewhere else, press the Windows key and then write recycle. Select either the Recycle bin, or Recycle bin folder.

Turn on Version History in SharePoint

Version History is switched on automatically in SharePoint, but if you seldom notice the Version History command, version history may be deactivated. Depending on how your administrator has programmed SharePoint, you might easily be able to activate document versioning.

For information about SharePoint versioning settings, see Enable and configure versioning for a list or library.

More information on Versioning

To find out if there are is any limit to the number of versions you can use, what minor versions are, how versioning works with file check in and out or content approval, see How does versioning work in a list or library?

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