Revision History History in Google Drive

As an avid user of Google Drive and a user who is concerned about the design and consistency of documents, I often use the time-saving feature of beginning with a previous Google Doc (i.e., formatted memo, meeting agenda), selecting File > Make a Copy, and then creating my new document using my previous document as a template.

It is worth noting that while this is a great time-saving feature, you may also be creating a potential confidentiality issue. The first edit you make on your copy (deleting your old content) becomes a part of your revision history for the new document, and any user with whom you share your document may go into Edit > See revision history and see the contents of the old document. Hopefully, the revision history content you deleted does not contain confidential or other sensitive information; however, this is not always the case.

PLEASE NOTE: This is not a “bug” in Google Drive, this is the way revision history works.

There is a workaround to prevent potential confidentiality issues from occurring.
1. Open a Google document you wish to use as a template.
2. Select File > Make a Copy. The document will be titled “Copy of Document title.”
3. Make your revisions (delete old content and leave the format/content you wish to keep).
4. Select File > Make a Copy [a second time]. The document will be titled “Copy of Copy of Document title.” (You can change the document's title after you create the copy.)
5. Share with others as desired.

The SECOND copy is a fresh, new Google document with no revision history. You will likely want to go back to your Google Drive list and delete the first copy you made to keep your Google Drive organized.

Here is an example of what NOT to do:
https://docs.google.com/a/bsd220.org/document/d/1YkXYw_AraIjF2Puw47zoFYTPIdJ0bBK8Y-sXhRv2VoI/edit?usp=sharing


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