Back to blog

Auditing Versioning Settings in SharePoint Online Document Libraries

Oct 30, 2015 by Emma Robinson

SharePoint Versioning enables you to track and restore changes to files in a document library and plays a key role in most organisations SharePoint Governance plans.

It’s important to understand the implications of what happens when versioning is disabled for a particular library on SharePoint Online and it is best illustrated with a scenario.

Imagine that you have an important document on SharePoint, and someone has it open on their computer.  They are making some modifications to the document and then step away for a minute to make a sandwich. Unbeknownst to them they knock a bottle of Tequila they have sitting on their desk and it slides over the top of the Delete key.

Microsoft Word starts deleting all the content within the document and diligently Auto Saves it back up to SharePoint Online.  The user returns to their desk, decides their done with work for the day and closes their laptop none-the-wiser.

Back in the Office, everyone goes to open the important document and is greeted by a blank page.  This is not good.  They call you, in the IT department, in a panic.

If you have Versioning enabled for the Document Library that this document lives in, no problem at all.  You can just go to the SharePoint library and restore the document to a previous version – one that isn’t empty.  You’re hailed as a hero and everyone gets back to work.

Now, if you DON’T have versioning enabled it gets kind of tricky.  There are no easily accessible backups in SharePoint Online and in order to get anything restored from a Backup you need to log a ticket with Microsoft Support. This can take days or weeks.  The SharePoint Recycle Bin is of little use here, because the document itself wasn’t deleted – it was just overwritten by a save.

As you can see, versioning is important, especially in SharePoint Online.  But how do you easily and quickly verify which Document Libraries have versioning enabled?

You use the Versioning Settings report in our Office 365 reporting tool of course!


SharePoint Versioning
The filters at the bottom of the table can be used to quickly filter all of the Libraries that do not have versioning enabled.

Filter for Versioning Settings
Looking for the versioning settings configured for a particular library?  Simply type the name of the library in the search box.

Search for a Library
So there you have it – by regularly scheduling a Versioning report to be emailed out to you on a weekly basis you can ensure that all libraries always have the correct versioning settings enabled.
Then you’ll always be the hero when files get accidentally overwritten!