Enable and configure versioning for a list or library

Applies to: SharePoint Online, SharePoint Server 2016, SharePoint Server 2013, Enterprise SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet, SharePoint Online Small Business.

Track and manage information over time with versioning in SharePoint lists and libraries. View and recover former versions from the item’s history.

When enabled, new versions are inserted into an item’s history once changes are overwritten. The amount of versions stored and the visibility of draft or minor versions can be altered for each list and library.

Enable and configure versioning in a SharePoint Online list or library

  1. Visit your desired library/list to enable versioning.
  1. Click Settings Gear shaped settings button , and then choose Library Settings or List Settings.Settings menu with Library Settings selected or Settings menu with List settings highlighted

  1. On the Settings page, press Versioning Settings.

Library settings dialog with Versioning selected.

  1. In the Version Settings page, you have the following settings available:

  • For a Document library
  • Need content approval for submitted items.
  • Create a version every time you edit a file in this document library using either major versions only, or major and minor versions.
  • Restrict the number of versions and drafts to retain.
  • Set who can view draft items.
  • Mandate documents to be checked before they can be edited.
Library Settings options in SharePoint Online, showing versioning enabled
  • For a List
  • Request content approval for submitted items.
  • Produce a version each time you edit an item in the list.
  • Constrain the number of versions and drafts to retain.
  • Approve who can see draft items in the list.
List Settings options in SharePoint Online, showing versioning enabled
  1. Press OK.

To View/Restore, or Delete an earlier version in a SharePoint Online list or library

To restore an earlier version of a document, follow these steps.

  1. Find the list/library with the item or document for which you want to view history.
  1. Click the ellipses () beside the relevant item to view history.
  1. Click Version History.
Document library right click menu with version history highlighted

If Version History isn’t visible to you, click More, and then click Version History.

  1. In the Version History dialogue box, hover your mouse over the date link on an earlier version and click the down arrow to show the menu.
Version dropdown dialog button
  1. In the menu, you can do the following:
  • View the current document. This will launch a dialogue where you can edit, restore, or delete, and also view the current approval status.
  • Restore the document. This option presents a dialogue asking if you want to make it the currently approved document. It will insert it as a new version.
  • Delete the document. This option shows a dialogue asking if you’re sure you want to send the item to the Recycle Bin.
  • Reject this version. This only appears on approved documents, rather than Delete.
  1. After you’re finished, press the X in the upper right corner.

Other settings that affect versioning

You can configure other settings that affect versioning. In lists or libraries, you can require content to be approved. In libraries, you can require files to be checked out.

For info on these settings and more, see How does versioning work in a list or library?

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