What is document versioning or document version control in document management
Version control is the managing of different variations of the same document. Different series of draft documents are tracked. When a document is generated, it can be altered and sent for reviews quite a number of times in order to have the final document ready. Document version control should be managed with care to reduce the possibility of erroneous version numbers, loss of document or replacement of one’s work.
There is a need to know when and how it’s updated to be able to track and control different versions of the document. This ensures that when changes are made to a document it is known and approved by the owner of the document and the involved stakeholders. This is very important in spaces where documents are shared amongst multiple people.
Document version control in paper based document management is done manually where an employee manually defines the version number depending on the process. Some businesses may even opt to use spreadsheets for this process. Using a document management system with an inbuilt document control software would ease managing the document versions. With the document management systems mistakes are reduced and versioning is automated and working on a document is always current.
What is the importance of document versioning in document management?
Document versioning or version control clearly identifies the development of a document. This can be the drafting of a new policy, a new process or a new publication.This eventually converts into a final document.Changes can also be made by different stakeholders but saved as different versions.
Having these different identifiable and easily accessible versions allows the development of the document to be understood. This allows going back to previous versions to determine when certain decisions were made.
Some of the use cases of document version control in document management
- When you need to share a document with multiple people, but don’t want any one to make changes without your approval or don’t want them to copy each other’s work by accident
- When you need to store different versions of a document for future reference
- When you need to store your personal notes or drafts for future reference
- When collaborating with others on a simple project proposal and want everyone to have access to all the same information
How does document version control work in document management?
Document version control works where different versions of a document exist and are necessary. It enables tracking back from the creation stage easing audit tracking.
Document version control is achieved by adding numbers at the end of the file title with each successive draft numbered sequentially until a finalized version is complete
In addition to adding the version number to the file title the version number should also be displayed within the document. The document number should appear on any document title page and also on the header and footer of the page.
To ensure against accidental loss of the final version of document a read only tag can be applied.
What are the best practices of document version control in document management?
For document version control to work there are certain best practices that would ease the process
Having a standard naming convention across all aspects of the organization. This will help original writers keep their original document and track changes. With a standard naming convention, keeping track of old versions, revisions, comments and other important aspects will be consistently maintained.
How does naming convention help in document version control
It controls incidences of accidentally overwriting previous versions of a document
Enables knowing which version of the document is latest
It enables knowing which version has been approved
Reduces time wasted on determining which is the right version.
A document must exist to enable managing its different versions, which reflect any minor or major changes on the original document.
If the working ins are with other businesses the best thing to do is to maintain a consistent version numbering across board this makes the process easier and less complicated. The numbering depends on the number of modifications but it has to be sequential.
Document version control table
A document control table is created at the beginning of every created document for keeping version records. For paper based document management a spreadsheet can be created for keeping the versioning records.This includes the different document versions, creators of each version, creation date and who approved it in case of approval.
How to get the most out of document version control in document management
To get the full impact of document version control in document management in your business certain factors would be applicable to ensure things are on the right track.
- Ensure every document in the workplace is included. This will ensure the whole company is using the document version control tools. The company should make sure that using the system is a habit and all relevant employees are granted access to the tool.
- This is not a back up system. This tool provides remote back up to the documents but it is not the same as a full backup system with similar core functionalities and features.
- Include easily readable document formats. This means that every relevant person is able to access the files without reformatting.
- Regular reviewing of the documents to ensure the document is always in an updated version.
- Folder and file names should be consistent, which with a document management system it’s automated whereby with the paper based document management where spreadsheets or word documents are used it has to be manually updated frequently. Document management system with version control make life a lot more simpler.
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