Best Practices for Document Version Control

Best Practices for Document Version Control
June 24, 2013 seouser
version_control

Whether you are using an automated document version control tool, or still doing this manually as part of your overall document management system, it’s always good to have a reminder of best practices when it comes to document versions. With this system, each revision of a document is tracked, organized and stored in a secure, easy to access central hub. That means that each file is labelled correctly, stored in the right place (where it can be found at the click of a mouse rather than eventually discovered after minutes of searching) and organized in a way that the most recent version is brought up first. Of course, to get the most from this system, you need to follow a few basic version control guidelines.

Getting the Most From Document Version Control

Still not feeling like your current document version control process is really working all that well? Here are some best practices to keep in mind to make sure things are on the right track. 1. Include every document used in the workplace The whole company should be using your tools, not just specific departments who version control only specific documents. In order for the system to work, it needs to be adhered to by everyone. Get into the habit of using the system, and make it available to all relevant employees who are granted access to the tool. 2. Remember that it is not a backup system This tool is able to provide backups to documents on a remote server, however it is not the exact same as a full backup system in terms of features and core functionality. It shouldn’t be a replacement for proper backup measures in other words – so don’t forget to follow basic data security practices too. 3. Aim to include easily readable document formats Most good software tools will have support for different file formats, such as PDF, Word, Note and so on. But adding documents that may need to be formatted can take more time and effort, so it is much easier to set criteria on standard file format used in the office. This means that every relevant person can access the document without the need to reformat. 4. Regularly review your documents Your documents need to be up-to-date and it is easy to miss out on an update. So the software should have a regular reminder system forcing you to check the validity of a particular document. Changes then are implemented and the document is then sent into its normal approval workflow before the new version is made available to your organization, thereby pushing the prior version into archive. 5. Keep folder and file names consistent One of the best things about an automated version control system is that it automatically generates document names – these can however be set and adjusted when used by a lot of different people. Some files may differ from others too in the case of spreadsheets vs Word documents. Keep records of the designated naming system somewhere central for everyone to use and you can ensure that things stay in order. Ultimately, you and your team will soon discover that version control software adds a great deal of simplicity to everyday life – just remember that you keep these tips in mind to get the most from your system.