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 PC
- Review change log and recover any previous version at any time
- Collaborate in a group and track who changed what and when
You can also enable versioning of VBA projects in Excel.
Add "Version Control" to Excel 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007
Works in: Microsoft Excel 2016 – 2007, desktop Office 365 (both 32 bit and 64 bit).
Learn your way around:
- How to track changes in Excel with Version Control
- How to commit a version of Excel workbook to Change Log
- How to preview and diff recent changes before committing a version
- How to save Excel spreadsheet versions to Git repository
- How to open Change Log and see who made changes and when
- How to compare two versions of an Excel worksheet
- How to restore and roll back to a previous version of Excel workbook
- How to use Version Control for a shared Excel workbook
- How to enable Version Control for Excel VBA macros
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.
Open a workbook > Click the 'Enable' button on XLTools ribbon.
Or: Open XLTools Settings > Version Control tab > Enable.
- Next, you can commit versions of the workbook and track changes between versions.
How to commit a version of Excel workbook to Change Log
Make sure that Version Control is enabled:
Click the 'Enable' button on XLTools tab, or open 'Settings' > Version Control tab > Enable.
- Click the 'Commit Changes' button > A dialogue box will open.
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.
As you keep editing the workbook, keep committing versions to the Change Log as often as you find necessary:
Make changes > When ready, click 'Commit Changes' > Add a descriptive comment > OK.
Note: a version is only committed through the 'Commit Changes' button. If you simply save the file, the version is not committed to Change Log.
How to preview and diff recent changes before committing a version
- Make changes > Click 'Commit Changes'.
- To preview and diff changes, double-click on the modified worksheet.
- 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.
- 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 the git-repository that safely stores all versions of the workbook.
Important: do NOT delete, rename or move this folder. Otherwise all versions history will be lost.
How to open Change Log and see who made changes and when
- Click the ‘Change Log’ button on XLTools tab > A window with all committed versions will open.
- 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
- Click the ‘Change Log’ button > A window with all committed versions will open.
- Expand/ collapse the list to find the versions of the worksheet you want to compare.
- Select two Excel sheets holding 'Ctrl' key > Click the 'Show changes' button.
- XLTools generates a new Temp workbook. The sheet with the 'Newer' version has the changes highlighted in red.
How to restore and roll back to a previous version of Excel workbook
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.
- Click the ‘Change Log’ button > Select the workbook version you want to restore.
Click the 'Save' button > Name and save as a separate Excel file.
Or: Click the 'Open' button to open the version first > File > Save as > Name and save the file.
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.
- Make sure that all your team members have XLTools add-in installed on their PCs.
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.
- Each member can commit and compare versions and view the Change Log.
How to enable Version Control for Excel VBA macros
VBA developers and Excel power users can also track and compare changes in VBA scripts.
Any questions or suggestions? Please leave your comment below.