The Foundry

Say goodbye to version control problems

Serena Mulder. 23.02.2016. Category: Google Apps

Here’s the original video created by Google to explain the advantages of the version control features of their documents. You will feel like you’ve gone back in time when you watch it but it but it perfectly explains the issues we previously had with version control before moving to Google Apps For Work.


Since moving to Google apps for work we have seen many advantages, some of those were expected and some of them were completely unexpected. Overall, the performance and productivity increase that has resulted from our move to Google Apps For Work has been outstanding. One of the key features of google apps for work that made this possible is the “Version Control”.

In the past we were sending documents backwards and forwards to clients and staff with version numbers in the file name. The trouble with this approach is it works well to an extent, but what if you have two employees editing and updating the same documents at the same time. Then you’ve got two documents that have both been modified differently with the same version number. then you need to decide which one will be the quickest to update and then go searching for all the changes. All sorts of problems like that and for review, edit and suggestions.

Then the document gets shared with the client who makes their changes and the same problem continues. They send you what they say is the final edit and as it always happens you end up with six more versions of the same document coming through over the following weeks, with slight modifications, not mentioning anywhere in the document of what and where the changes have been made. Fifteen pages of text and all you know is there’s one slight change somewhere in the document you need to find.

All these problems that occurred, have now been completely eliminated with the way that Google Docs handles things. There is only ever one document of any kind and that same document can be shared with multiple people, and all of them can actually be working and editing the document at the same time. You can see the edits that they are making in the real time and you can even make comments and chat with each other while working on the same document.

There is also an option to cancel out the edits and roll back to previous version if you are not satisfied with edits. Alternatively, if you want to make some updates to the document you can also make it as a suggestion, it is very easy to toggle between editing mode and suggestion mode and make it so that all the changes you’ve made show up as suggestion and the other team member collaborating on the document is able to see your suggestions and decide to keep the original or accept the suggestion that you’ve made.

This had a massive impact on our business and the problem that are associated with the word documents in the past with our clients have been totally eliminated. Obviously, there is still a learning curve for your clients that are not familiar with Google docs and other apps, so it may not be 100% perfect but it is certainly a massive improvement from the past when collaborating using other desktop based offline word processors (Microsoft Word for example).

If you have experienced version control problems in your business then I would certainly recommend that you take some time to investigate Google Apps and how it works. Of course, if you need any help understanding the ins and outs of Google Apps or have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us. We will be more than happy to walk you through how Google Apps has revolutionised our business and show you what it can do for yours, particularly in the area of version control and collaborative work.

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