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How to Enable SharePoint Document Version Control

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Posted Jun 30 2010 07:58 AM

Did you know SharePoint offers version control? You wouldn't notice it because it's not enabled by default. This excerpt from Ben Curry's Microsoft® SharePoint® 2010 Administrator's Pocket Consultant will show you how to enable SharePoint's document version control.


Document libraries support version control at several levels. By default, versioning is not enabled but is enabled in the document library settings. Versions are complete copies of the document, not deltas. To enable versioning, perform the following steps:

  1. Navigate to the document library by clicking on its title.

  2. In the document library, select Library Tools, Library on the management Ribbon for the document library.

  3. Select Library Settings in the Settings section.

  4. Under General Settings, select Versioning Settings.

  5. Select the versioning options required, as shown in Figure 11.13 under Document Version History.

    Figure 11.13. Document Version History settings.

    Attached Image

Depending on the process flow and business requirements put in force by the document management plan within an organization, document versioning requirements might be succinctly different. Some document management plans might require approval for inclusion within the library. Retention policies might require the pruning of older versions and the removal of drafts or minor revisions upon the publication of a major version.

Content Approval

You can designate that a document or document set be approved before the version becomes available for consumption. This requirement might include changes to existing documents as well as the addition of new items. This can be used in conjunction with an approval workflow to streamline the approval process.

Major Versioning

All versions are considered to be "published" versions when major versioning is enabled in a document library. The option is provided to the user during check-in to identify which version the file or document set should be marked with. Only whole number versions are created and retained.

Major and Minor Versioning

Minor versions that are marked with the fractional number in the second octet are considered drafts. This option is designed to support the publishing model in which draft versions or working copies are used until a point in time when publishing will change the major version number. Major versions are marked as "published" in the versions list. When a document is checked in, users can choose to mark it as one of the following version types: Existing Minor, New Minor, or New Major. Users can also elect to keep the document checked out, with the exception of checking it in as Major version, as there could be a workflow attached to the Major version publishing.

Version Pruning

The choice of either versioning structure allows for limiting the number of versions retained by the document library. These limits can be established at both the Major and Minor version level. Pruning works on the first-in, first-out basis, with older versions being pruned. If a major version is removed, all minor versions related to that major version are also removed. Version pruning is a significant planning issue that affects the content database sizes, quotas, and disaster recovery. Because each version is a complete copy of the document, not a delta, decisions regarding pruning can significantly affect the infrastructure requirements, length of retention, and ability to recover.

Draft Item Security

Drafts are minor versions or items that have not been approved. The Draft Item Security feature specifies which users should be able to view drafts in the document library. There are three options that can be set in the Versioning settings for the document library, as shown in Figure 11.14:

  • Any User Who Can Read Items

  • Only Users Who Can Edit Items

  • Only Users Who Can Approve Items (And The Author Of The Item)

Important

As an administrator, you need to understand that without pruning turned on, large numbers of document versions can be created, which can greatly increase the size of the SQL database.

Figure 11.14. Draft Item Security and Require Check Out sections.

Attached Image

If you are using large file sizes (greater than 200 MB) and do not want to keep those items stored in the SQL Server database, you can use Remote binary large object (BLOB) Storage (RBS) outside of SQL on a file system.



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