If you’re familiar with using the Office desktop applications, you know that revisions of the documents you work on are automatically saved and tracked within the document. If you need to look at an older revision or revert back to one, it’s as simple as opening the activity pane and clicking the desired version of the document – however it’s a little different when you aren’t using the Office desktop applications.

If you’re away from your computer and need to view these documents using the Office online applications (through the Office portal), you may notice that you can’t find the activity pane to look at older versions. If you need to view or revert a document to a previous revision you can follow the steps in this article to do so.

Note: In order to access the document revisions, you need to have the document in question saved either in OneDrive or inside a SharePoint location

How to access document revisions online

  • First make sure you log in to your Office 365 account
  • From the portal, open up OneDrive or SharePoint depending on where you have the document saved
  • Navigate to where the file is saved
  • Once you’ve located the file, right click on it (or click the 3 dots button that appears when you hover the mouse cursor over it) and click Version History from the menu that appears
  • The version history pane will open, find the version you’re looking for and right-click it (or click the 3 dots button) and then click Restore from the menu. This will make that specific version active and a new version should appear at the top of the list.
  • Now right click the X button in the top right to close the Version history pane, then right click on the document in the list of files and choose to open it in the online app (e.g. Word Online, Excel Online)
  • That revision will open in the chosen app and allow you to view and edit it if necessary (be aware changes are saved automatically with the Office online apps)
  • If you need to revert or access another revision just follow this process again, as many times as needed

Accessing revisions online is currently not the most intuitive, Microsoft are actively updating their Office online apps and this process may change and become easier in the future. If this process changes at all we will update this article, but for now this is the best way to access version histories of your OneDrive / SharePoint files.

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