Safely manage revision history and track changes in Excel spreadsheets

Some disappointments are familiar to every Excel user. You or your colleagues may enter incorrect values or even delete critical data by mistake. MS Excel Track Changes feature comes with limitations: history of changes is periodically deleted, it does not do backups and works only for shared workbooks. How can you protect data without piles of backup copies or complicated macros?

XLTools Version Control add-in solves these problems and keeps your data safe:

  • Commit versions in a click and track changes to a workbook
  • Compare versions and highlight changes
  • Store versions safely in a Git repository on your own PCReview change log and recover any previous version at any timeWrite queries in the intuitive editor with syntax highlighting
  • Collaborate in a group and track who changed what and when
Main features of XLTools Version Control

How to track changes in Excel with Version Control

XLTools Version Control add-in for Excel workbooks is a revision control, or a source control tool. It helps track changes to Excel files and gives a clear picture of who, how and when modified the document.

  1. Open a workbook Click theEnablebutton on XLTools ribbon.
    Or:Open XLToolsSettings Version Control tab Enable.
  2. Next, you cancommit versionsof the workbook andcompare changesbetween versions.
Enable XLTools Version Control for a spreadsheet

How to commit a version of Excel workbook to Change Log

  1. Make sure that Version Control is enabled:

    Click theEnablebutton on XLTools tab, or openSettings Version Control tab Enable.

  2. Click theCommit Changesbutton A dialogue box will open.
  3. Add a descriptive comment to tell the versions apart, e.g. "Primary file" OK.
    Tip:before making changes, commit the original file to the Change Log. This will allow you to compare future versions with it, as well as restore the primary file if necessary.
  4. As you keep editing the workbook, keep committing versions to the Change Log as often as you find necessary:

    Make changes When ready, clickCommit Changes Add a descriptive comment OK.

Note:a version is only committed through theCommit Changesbutton. If you simply save the file, the version is not committed to Change Log.
XLTools Version Control Preview changes and Commit Version

How to preview and diff recent changes before committing a version

  1. Make changes ClickCommit Changes.
  2. To preview and diff changes, double-click on the modified worksheet.
  3. A new Temp workbook will open. The current and the newer versions are placed on separate tabs. The newer version has changes highlighted in red color.
  4. Review the result Click OK to commit this new version, or Cancel to go back to editing the workbook.

How to save Excel spreadsheet versions to Git repository

All versions of a workbook, that were committed to the Change Log, are stored to the git-repository on your computer. Being a widely adopted system for revision control, Git accurately records all changes and does not take much of your disk space.

Immediately after you enable Version Control, a new Git repository folder 'WorkbookName_Revisions' automatically appears at the same destination folder as your workbook. This is thegit-repositorythat safely stores all versions of the workbook.

Important:do NOT delete, rename or move this folder. Otherwise all versions history will be lost.
XLTools Version Control Git Repository

How to open Change Log and see who made changes and when

  1. Click theChange Logbutton on XLTools tab A window with all committed versions will open.
  2. Review the list of versions: it displays comments, author and the exact time of committing the version.

How to compare two versions of an Excel worksheet

  1. Click theChange Logbutton A window with all committed versions will open.
  2. Expand/collapse the list to find the versions of the worksheet you want to compare.
  3. Select two Excel sheets holdingCtrlkey Click theShow changesbutton.
  4. XLTools generates a new Temp workbook. The sheet with the 'Newer' version has the changes highlighted in red.
XLTools Compare Two Versions of Excel Sheet

You can open any previously committed version of a workbook and save it as a separate file. This is a helpful Excel backup tool – at any time you can recall or roll back to an older version.

  1. Click theChange Logbutton Select the workbook version you want to restore.
  2. Click theSavebutton Name and save as a separate Excel file.
    Or:Click theOpenbutton to open the version first File Save as Name and save the file.
XLTools Restore and Roll Back To a Previous Version

How to use Version Control for a shared Excel workbook

XLTools Version Control add-in helps arrange group work and collaborate on shared spreadsheets effectively.

  1. Make sure that all your team members have XLTools add-in installed on their PCs.
  2. Place the workbook in a shared folder in your network Share the workbook with the team members.
    Note:to commit versions, team members should have reading and writing permissions. This prevents anyone outside the group from editing the workbook under versioning.
  3. Each member can commit and compare versions and view the Change Log.

How to enable Version Control for Excel VBA macros

If you work with macros in Excel, you can also enableVersion Control for VBA projectsand track changes to VBA scripts.

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