How to turn on versioning in SharePoint 2010

Get step-by-step instructions for enabling versioning on a SharePoint 2010 document library.

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Versioning in SharePoint allows you to apply incremental numbers to documents in a SharePoint document library and thereby keep track of the changes made to documents.

A document version number can consist of a major version only, such as for example 1, 2, 3, etc., or it can consist of a combination of a major and minor version such as for example 1.0, 1.1, 1.2, etc.

The numbers representing minor versions, that is, the number after the decimal point is sometimes also called a "draft" version. These numbers increase with each change you make to a document when versioning on SharePoint is turned on.

Typically once a document becomes "final", you should assign a major version number such as 1.0 or 2.0 to it. Major versions increase by whole numbers.

SharePoint 2010 offers 3 options for versioning:

  1. No versioning
  2. Only major versions
  3. Major and minor versions

By default, versioning is turned off on SharePoint document libraries, but you can turn on versioning in SharePoint 2010 if you have Design permission on the SharePoint document library on which you want to turn on versioning.

To enable versioning on a SharePoint 2010 document library:

  1. Navigate to the SharePoint document library on which you want to turn on versioning.
  2. On the Library Tools tab on the Ribbon, click the Library tab.
  3. On the Library tab under the Settings group, click Library Settings.
  4. Library Settings on SharePoint 2010 document library Ribbon

    Figure 1. Library Settings on SharePoint 2010 document library Ribbon.

  5. On the Document Library Settings page under General Settings, click Versioning settings.
  6. On the Versioning Settings page, select Create major versions if you only want to enable major versions on documents or select Create major and minor (draft) versions if you want both major and minor versions on documents, and click OK. Note: If you select to create draft versions you can also select who should be able to see draft items in the document library.

Turn on versioning on a SharePoint 2010 document library

Figure 2. Turn on versioning on a SharePoint 2010 document library.

If you selected Create major versions, each time a document is changed and saved, its version number will automatically increase by a whole number.

If you selected Create major and minor (draft) versions, you have to explicitly publish major versions through the Publish a Major Version menu option on documents in SharePoint document libraries.

Publishing a major version of a document in a SharePoint 2010 document library

Figure 3. Publishing a major version of a document in a SharePoint 2010 document library.

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