This post is part of an on-going series of small tips for SharePoint site owners (basically anyone who is managing a SharePoint site in some way)

One of the great features of SharePoint is the possibility to keep previous versions of documents and list items. This makes it easy to see who modified what when, and to also have a look back to see what was changed. Furthermore, you can also easily restore previous versions if required.

PROBLEM
The problem with versions, however, is that if you allow an unlimited amount of versions you risk that you require a lot more storage space for all these versions. To give an example: Let’s say you store one document with a size of 100KB and you allow unlimited versions (Major versions only). People start to make changes, and after a while you have reached version 50. Assuming that the document still has the same size (to simplify calculations here), that would mean that this single document now uses 50 x 100KB = 5,000KB = 5MB. While 5MB doesn’t sound like much, think about how many documents there are on your site, or even on your whole intranet, and what the possible impact is if unlimited versions are allowed for all of them!

SOLUTION
After you have identified a library for which versions are required, the next step is to find out how many versions are required actually. There may be cases where it is important to keep all previous versions, but usually you will rather only need to keep a few of them. For example, it may sometimes be required to be able to revert back to only the last version that existed before changes were made to a document. You could then set the restriction to 2 versions only, however this might mean that if someone saves a document twice within a short time frame you won’t be able to restore the “original” document from before these changes. A number of 5 versions may be a better and slightly safer choice here.

To activate versioning, first go to the corresponding library’s settings, and then follow the Versioning [[check]] link. In the section Document Version History, select either Create major versions or Create major and minor versions. Afterwards, tick Keep the following number of major versions and Keep drafts for the following number of major versions respectively and enter the appropriate numbers.

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