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How to track changes in Google Docs

It doesn't take a supersleuth to track down changes made to a Google Doc!
By
February 18, 2022

Tracking changes within Google Docs is something everyone should know how to do. It is best used when working with others on a shared document, and we need to see what was changed when we weren’t looking. At the same time, if something happens to your document and you need to revert to an older version, you need to know what changes have happened since then. Let’s go over how to track changes in Google Docs.

Read more: How to check your word count in Google Docs

QUICK ANSWER 

To track changes on Google Docs, click the box at the top right of Google Docs that says Editing. From the subsequent dropdown menu, click Suggesting. Alternatively, from the top toolbar, you can click File Version history See version history. This will allow you to check all of the changes made to your Google Doc.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

How to track changes in Google Docs (Suggestion mode)

There are two ways to keep track of changes in Google Docs. The first way is to utilize Suggestion mode. If you are in a Google Doc and need to turn on Suggestion mode, click the box in the top right that says Editing. Click Suggesting to turn on Suggestion mode.

track document changes by using suggestions
Curtis Joe / Android Authority

Suggestion mode, as it’s called in Google Docs, is essentially the same thing as Track Changes in MS Word. When you edit a document in Suggestion mode, changes are not immediately reflected on the document. Instead, they are “tracked” as suggestions, with timestamps indicating when they were made. You can also add comments underneath suggestions.

suggestion mode example in google docs
Curtis Joe / Android Authority

This is especially useful when you are working on a Google Doc collaboratively and need to be considerate of other people’s work. In situations like this, you should always edit in Suggestion mode so the other person can review your changes before they are made.

reject or accept the suggestion
Curtis Joe / Android Authority

When it comes time to decide on changes, people with Editing mode permission can click either Accept suggestion or Reject suggestion. Accept suggestion will implement the change as an edit into the Google Doc, while Reject suggestion will remove the edit made in Suggestion mode.

Suggest changes (Android and iOS)

You can easily enter Suggestion mode on your Android or iOS device. Suggestions made on your phone will be mirrored across Google Docs, and you will be able to access them on your desktop.

To do this, press the button in the top right of your Google Doc. After that, tap the Suggest changes slider to activate Suggestion mode.

turning on suggestion mode on android
Curtis Joe / Android Authority

How to track changes in Google Docs (Version history)

There is another way to keep track of changes within Google Docs, and that is to use Version history.

Underneath the title of your Google Doc, to the right of the toolbar underneath, you should see faded grey text that reads, “Last edit was [insert number] minutes ago.” This is the Open version history button. Click this to be redirected to Version history.

Alternatively, you can reach Version history by clicking File Version history See version history from the top toolbar.

location of the Open version history button on Google Docs
Curtis Joe / Android Authority

On the Version history page, all of the different autosaved versions of your Google Doc appear in a vertical column on the right. On the larger left-hand side of the page, you will be able to see the exact changes made to your document from the current version, as long as you have Show changes turned on.

To turn this on, click the Show changes box at the bottom of the column on the right. The box will turn blue with a checkmark in the middle.

where the show changes button is on version history
Curtis Joe / Android Authority

With Show changes active, click on an earlier version of the Google Doc from the columned list on the right. You will see all of the changes made, including changes from other users.

select the earlier version that you wish to view from the columned list on the right
Curtis Joe / Android Authority

If you need your Google Doc to revert to this older version, click the blue Restore this version button at the top.

How to restrict Editing mode on shared Google Docs

Changing collaborators’ permissions

If you don’t trust the people you’re collaborating with to make proper edits or use Suggestion mode, you may want to retain total editing control. You can limit other users’ editing power by managing permissions.

To do this, click the blue Share button at the top of Google Docs.

change permissions on google docs share button location
Curtis Joe / Android Authority

Under Get link, click the Change button.

location of the change button
Curtis Joe / Android Authority

Click the button in the far right of the Anyone with the link tab, then click Commentor from the subsequent dropdown menu. This will make it so that the people you share this document with can only edit in Suggestion mode.

make everyone with the link commentors
Curtis Joe / Android Authority

FAQs

Can you stop editors from changing permissions and sharing on Google Docs?

Yes, if you are the owner of the Google Doc. To change Share with people settings, click the blue Share button at the top of Google Docs, to the left of your profile picture. Next, click the Share with people settings button in the top right of the Share with people and groups box; this looks like a gear. Uncheck Editors can change permissions and share.

How do you turn off track changes in Google Docs?

Click the box at the top right of the screen that says Suggesting. Click Editing to return to normal editing mode.