Version Tracking with SharePoint Lists


When version tracking is enabled for a list within a SharePoint site, each time the data in the list item changes, a new version of that list item is made available. Versions are not displayed as separate list item IDs but the version history can easily be accessed from viewing the list item separately or from a view within the list.  Version tracking can be very helpful for lists as you’ll be able to view exactly what changed from which column of the list item and the user that made the changes.

Activating Version Tracking

Access your list and choose >List >List Settings >Versioning settings and select Yes (followed by clicking OK) from Create a version each time you edit an item in this list?  You can also limit the number of versions to retain; only interesting for lists where list items are updated very frequently and you don’t need all versions saved.

Version Tracking with SharePoint Lists - Activating Versioning

Results of Activating Version Tracking

Once versioning has been activated, displayed list items will provide you will the version number (bottom, left-hand corner) as well as an icon and link at the top, to view the history of each version (the history of changes to column selections / entries).

Version Tracking with SharePoint Lists - Results of Activating Versioning

Version History of changes to columns (entries and selections changed for each column and when and by whom) can also be accessed from list items displayed within standard views.

Version Tracking with SharePoint Lists - Access Version History from Standard Views

Each list item’s version history will display all column entries and selections that have been changed for each version providing the date and time the changes were made as well as the system user who made the changes.  Seen in the image below, you can delete all version information if required for this one particular list item displayed.  This captured version history can only be displayed as seen below; it cannot be displayed via a datasheet view or exported to Excel.

You may individually be interested in activating Alerts for a list in order to be informed via eMail of all changes to any list items either via a daily summary or immediately, each time any changes to any list items are made.

Version Tracking with SharePoint Lists - Version History and Delete All Versions

Results of Switching Version Tracking Off

A list and its list items do in fact track updates within the system even though you may not have versioning activated and the information is not displayed or stored directly within the list.  Because of this, when you deactivate versioning from a list, the only result is that the information is not displayed or saved within the list (e.g. if you were to save the list as a template).

Hence, you can deactivate versioning without any worries and furthermore, you can also re-activate the versioning later on and expect that all updates made to the list items in the past will be available once you activate versioning again in the future.

Version Tracking with SharePoint Lists - Results of Switching Versioning Off

Experience the content above via the following eLearning examples:

Contact me with any questions.