Introduction to Power Of Versioning in SharePoint

In the previous article, I have described basic level information about SharePoint Introduction, SharePoint Web Application, Site Collections, and Subsites, and SharePoint Lists. So, in this article, I am moving one step ahead. Now I will be talking about Common SharePoint Lists settings available with almost all the lists. In this article we will be discussing about versioning of the SharePoint list items.

In this article, I am going to cover the following topics,

  • What are lists settings and Types of settings available.
  • Overview of versioning settings
  • How to enable the versioning setting?
  • How versioning works?
  • How to disable the versioning?
  • Important terms in Versioning
  • Permission levels needed for versioning
  • Summary

What are list settings and Types of settings available.

Microsoft introduced list settings as:

“The SharePoint Online List control offers you a very flexible way to display your data. You can enable dozens of settings to let you display your data in a range of formats, specify users, create workflows, add versioning, and send RSS updates as things change.”

Every list has its own setting using which we can customize the list’s behavior and presentation of data. That is termed as List Settings. In order to access the list setting page, follow the below-given steps.

Step 1

Open up the list for which you want to manage settings and click on Setting Icon → List Settings.


Step 2

The following page will open. This page is called List Setting Page. This may vary from list to list based on the types of lists or libraries. You can see that the list setting page is divided into multiple sections. The sections include List Information, General Settings, Permissions and Management, Communication, Columns, and Views.

In this article, we will be talking about General Settings of SharePoint Lists. Rest settings we will be taking into next series of articles.


Overview of versioning settings

Before directly jumping to the Versioning setting, let us assume a scenario. You have created a SharePoint list. Multiple users have permissions to edit the data on the lists. You have entered a record in lists. And now someone else has modified the record. And later when you have opened the lists you see that your important record has been updated by some other users. And now you don’t even remember what was the last value entered by you. Now, this creates a problem because you are losing data.

In order to avoid this problem of losing data, SharePoint has provided the versioning settings on every list. Using Versioning setting, you can see all the history of the items that have been updated. And you can get any previous version of the updated list item any time on your fingertips. Consider an example where you have saved the value as “User XYZ”. Now another user from your organization changes the value to “User ABC”.

Now, you want “User XYZ” again, then, in that case, you can see the version history of the item and get back to your original value “User XYZ”. Here, the question arises in our mind of how to enable this list’s versioning, how we can see the previous versions, and how we can restore to the previous versions of items and many more such questions. So let’s find out the answer to each question in this article.

How to enable the versioning setting?

Step 1

Open the list on which you want enable version. In our case consider the employee list.


Step 2

Click on setting icon and then click on List Settings.


Step 3

Click on Versioning Settings


Step 4

Here you will find the option “Create a version each time you edit an item in this list”. By default “No” is selected. Just click “Yes”. Once you click “Yes” you will see that the option “Keep the following number of versions to retain” is now enabled. This option allows you to choose how many versions you want to maintain. If you have entered 5, then it will maintain the last 5 versions of the item or document to be retained. Once you are done then just click on OK and your list will now have active versioning.


How does versioning work?

Open the employee list. Currently, we have the employee title as Employee-1, now let’s change to Employee-11.


Step 1

Click on the 3 dots on the item and then click on “Version history”.


Step 2

Now you can see the version history window. Here you can see that previous value and new value both are visible. Now in case you want to restore to the previous version, then just click on “Restore”. Also, you will able to see who has changed which values.


You can also delete the versions or view the version in details.

How to disable the versioning?

  • Step-1 Open the list settings
  • Step-2 Click on Versioning Settings
  • Step-3 Click No to the option “Create a version each time you edit an item in this list”
  • Step-4 And now the versioning setting is disabled.

Important terms in Versioning

Major Versions

Major versions are the versions with the integer value such as 1.0, 2.0, 5.0 etc. This version is considered as the final version of the items.

Minor Versions

Minor Versions are used in many organization when they are working on some items and they do not want to publish the item. The number of Minor versions are non integer values like 1.1,1.2,2.6,5.1 etc.

Permission levels needed for versioning

Following is the permission level required for versioning setting



So in this article, we have seen the functionality and power of versioning available in SharePoint. We have also seen how to enable/disable the versioning settings and also how versioning works in a real world scenario.

Any question or feedback or suggestion, please do comment and let me know.

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