Version history in Google Sheets: see edit history & restore any version

This tutorial will help you work with version history and cell edit history in Google Sheets.

Google Sheets has many beneficial features. Saving your spreadsheets automatically while keeping records of all changes made in the file is one of them. You can access those records, look through them and restore any version anytime.

What is a version history in Google Sheets

If you're used to making copies of your spreadsheets or duplicating tabs for the record, it's high time for you to stop cluttering your Drive :) Google Sheets saves every edit automatically now and keeps logs of every change so you could look them up & compare. It's called version history.

Version history is implemented as a special Google Sheets option and shows you all changes in one place.

It contains the dates & times of the edits and editors' names. It even assigns each editor a color so you could see what has been altered by any person in particular.

How to view edit history in Google Sheets

Note. This functionality is available to the spreadsheet owners and users with the editing permissions only.

To see the entire edit history in Google Sheets, go to File > Version history > See version history: See version history in Google Sheets.

Tip. Another way to call Google Sheets edit history is to press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+H on your keyboard.

This will open a side pane on the right of your spreadsheet with all the details: See all versions in a Google Sheets version history.

Each record on this pane is a version of the spreadsheet that differs from the version below.

Tip. Some versions will be grouped. You'll notice these groups by a small right-pointing triangle: A group of versions for your spreadsheet.

Click on the triangle to expand the group and see the entire Google Sheets version history: Expand grouped versions.

When you browse Google Sheets version history, you'll see who updated the file and when (names, dates and times).

Click on any timestamp and Google Sheets will show you the sheets with the contents related to that date and time.

You can also view each editor's changes. Tick the Show changes box at the bottom of the sidebar: Show or hide changes made by other authors.

You will instantly see who updated the cells because their fill colors will match the color of the circles next to the editors' names in the Google Sheets version history sidebar: View edits per author.

Tip. To review each edit individually and to navigate between them quickly, use the arrows next to Total edits: Jump to each edit quickly.

How to restore Google Sheets to the previous version

You can not only view edit history in Google Sheets but also restore this or that revision anytime.

Once you find the variant of the spreadsheet you'd like to bring back, hit that green Restore this version button at the top: The button to restore the spreadsheet variants.

Tip. If you change your mind about recovering any earlier version, click the arrow instead to go back to your current spreadsheet: Go back to your spreadsheet without recovering earlier copies.

Name versions in the Google Sheets version history

If you're satisfied with some variants of your spreadsheet, you can name them. Custom names will let you quickly find these versions in the edit history afterwards and prevent other versions from grouping with named ones.

In the Google Sheets menu, open File > Version history > Name current version: The option to name your current spreadsheet version.

You will get a corresponding pop-up inviting you to enter a new name: Enter a custom name for your spreadsheet variant.

Tip. You can name your versions directly from the version history. Click the icon with 3 dots next to the variant you want to rename and pick the first option, Name this version: Add a custom name to any revision via More options.

Type in a new name and press Enter on your keyboard to confirm: Rename spreadsheet variants in the edit history.

Note. You can create only 40 named versions per spreadsheet.

To find this variant among others in the edit history quickly, switch the view from All versions to Named versions at the top of version history: See all or only named revisions.

Google Sheets version history will then feature only variants with custom names: See only named revisions in the Google Sheets edit history.

Tip. You can change or remove the name completely later using the same More actions icon: Rename or Remove name options under the More actions icon.

How to make copies of earlier file variants (or delete version history from Google spreadsheets)

You may wonder why I mention such different actions – copy and delete – in a title for one section.

You see, many of you ask how to delete version history in your Google Sheets. But the thing is, there is no such option. If you're the owner of a spreadsheet or have the right to edit it, you'll be able to view edit history in Google Sheets and restore earlier revisions.

However, there's one option that resets the entire edit history – copy the version: Make a copy of the required file variant.

Go for it, and you'll get a suggested name and a place on your Drive for that copy. You can change both, of course, and even share this copy with the same editors who have access to the current spreadsheet: Edit the name of the copy, choose its location, and decide whether you want to share it.

Hit Make a copy and that version will appear in your Drive as an individual spreadsheet with a blank edit history. If you ask me, it's a pretty solid alternative to deleting version history in Google Sheets ;)

See cell edit history

One more way to view the changes is to check each cell individually.

Right-click a cell of interest and choose Show edit history: Show cell edit history.

You will instantly get the most recent edit: who changed this cell, when, & what value was there before: Review cell changes.

Use those arrows at the upper right corner to review other changes. Google Sheets even says if the value was restored from one of the earlier versions: Check if the edit is restored.

Note. There are some edits Google Sheets doesn't track and, hence, you won't be able to check them:

  • Changes in the format
  • Changes made by formulas
  • Added or deleted rows and columns

This is all you need to know at the moment to track changes in data in your Google Sheets and manage & restore any variant of your file at any time.

Table of contents


  1. Hello there, I accidentally deleted a rows in Spreadsheet (2 rows from 215 rows). Can it actually shown in the history version? I mean, can we detect it or does it have a way to check from history version the row that already deleted?

    Thanks before, I hope you can help me explain it because I can't find the deleted rows in the history version.

    • Hello, Ann,

      You can see that rows were deleted in the version history by highlighted data. When you delete the rows, your data shifts. If it got shifted into empty cells or if empty cells appeared at the bottom of your initial data, these changed cells will show up as green edits in the version history. But the specific deleted rows won't be highlighted. You'll have to find them yourself by restoring a copy of the sheet from the history and identifying those rows.

      Our Compare Sheets for Differences can help you with the latter.

  2. I changed the permissions to protect some ranges and now I am the only one who seems to be able to edit anywhere. I double checked the permissions and the people who can't edit the ranges are still showing as having the correct permissions. I restored a previous version before my changes and still the other people can't edit their columns. When restoring a previous version, does everyone need to be logged off and THEN restore the older version? I am at a loss.

    • Hello Jon,

      If you want other people to be able to edit the ranges again, you need to change the permissions again.
      Make sure to check not only the document permissions, but also those for the sheets or specific columns.

  3. I know this is also visible for docs as well. however i have an issue where i see a student submitting a doc and it only shows the group icon on the history and there is not the small triangle to see the breakdown of their history working on the assignment. In this case ,, does that mean they just pasted the information on the doc in one click, which is why there would be no triangle showing a breakdown of the edits? Reason I ask is all other students it shows the small triangle and I can click the triangle and see the break down of their work and edits. BUt, there is one particular student who continuously does not have that, I think she is pasting the information. however recently i watched her typing on the document and when she finished it still did not show the small triangle to break down the edits. what would cause this? Does the student have a setting on her chromebook that has disabled it? does it only create a breakdown with the triangle within in certain amount of time? meaning if they are a fast typer it wouldn't show it?

    • Hello,

      I'm sorry I can't say why this is happening. The revisions for the file may occasionally be merged to save storage space.
      If you don't have permission to edit a file, you won't be able to see the version history as well.

      If your account is part of the Google Workspace paid plan, you can try checking the edits by selecting any specific part of the document, right-clicking it and picking Show editors.

  4. Helpful information, thanks for sharing.

  5. At work we have shared Google sheet. So for this one sheet, there is a few of us. I had accidentally made a mistake and deleted some columns which had formulas. Didn’t realize it until later they were deleted. I just want to clarify that I just need to find which version history and copy it to my own drive then copy and paste the missing columns?

  6. How i got to know the changes made by some one in google sheet after i restored the data

    Actually i restored the data now it is showing like my name only but i want to know previously who edited that data. How can i get this option please help me

  7. Hello, is there any way to clear the version/edit history apart from duplicating the spreadsheet? as its having a huge impact on the sheets performance.

    • Hi! As noted in the article above, there is no easy way to remove version history from a Google Sheets document. The only thing you can do is create a copy of the document and delete the original. The new copy will not contain the version history.

  8. Thanks for this information
    I have a question: Can I set it to automatically revert to a certain old version at a fixed time of day?
    Thank you so much.

  9. Maybe now you can show how to do it on mobile?

  10. Hello Natalia ,

    I need to restore Edit history , i lost history when i use restore this version
    Any solution to the problem ?!

  11. Hi Team,
    I have made a google sheet and someone from the user deleted one column which had important Data
    Please can you help me identify who is this user and how to i protect the sheet.. where users can only add data and edit data but are not allowed to delete rows and columns

    • Hi Asif Shaikh,

      If the users have rights to edit all data, they automatically can delete rows and columns. Unless you protect those rows & columns specifically from everyone.
      Use the version history as described in this article, go from version to version and you'll see whose edits removed the column.

  12. Is there a way to see edit history on cells that only contain inserted notes?

  13. Is there a wat to recover a file that was deleted over 30 day. I accidentally deleted a Google sheet file to get more storage and picked the wrong file. Is there any was to recover that deleted file even after 30 days?

    • Hello Maria,

      If you delete a file within your organization's Drive, contact your Drive specialist. If it's your personal Drive, you need to contact Google Drive support.

  14. Is there any option to get a version history of Google sheets on a specific date

  15. Hi, I was wondering if you could tell me more information about how to edit the name of worksheets within a google sheet. I'm really struggling and it's not clear

    • Hi Daisy,

      If you mean the name of the copied file from the version history, it's described here. If you ask about the spreadsheet (file) in Drive, we mentioned it here. To rename the tabs within the file quickly, use this add-on or double-clik each tab that you want to rename.

  16. Hi,

    Can you please let me know why in my google sheet when I right-click the "show edit history" not showing?
    Is there any way to put it?

  17. Hello, thanks for the information.

    Is it possible that a new version is created even without edits? It happened to me that version is created by itself and it doesn't show the number of edits. This happened in a large sheet multiple worksheets and with many collaborates.

    • Hello Ritish,

      No, the version history purpose is to show different snaps of your file after some edits. If you don't see the total edits at the top, please report this to Google.

  18. Do you know of any way to use Version History to calculate hours worked on a sheet?

    I'm trying to create a log from work done on projects years ago and thought Version History did a good job clocking the times worked. Now I'm trying to figure out how to get that data into some kind of log book format?


  19. Thank you so much!!! I'm the Project Superintendent of a construction site building 160 homes and every step of every phase of every house was tracked through Sheets and I deleted it! New emotions I didn't know existed surfaced! When I found this post... Well, I never knew the emotion of relief could be so rich!

    One question... I'm about to restore the earlier version but I noticed that my formatting is not the same. Will it come back when I hit the restart button or do I need to do something else first?

    Thanks again! True lifesaver!

  20. Hi there, I have edited a document and now have different versions. How do I get all comments from the initial to final version in a single document?

    • Hi Jaysree,

      You will find them by clicking the Comments icon next to the Share button and your account picture. Make sure to check the Resolved ones and on All sheets to not miss any comments.

  21. Thanks for this information very clear and informational
    A question: I am working with a few people on a google sheet, a teammate recovered a pervious version and now the right click -show edit history - only shows the restored version with nothing before that - is there a way to get the edit history back with the right click show edit history?

    • Hello Alan,

      I'm afraid it's impossible. The restored version is a copy of the old version. As with standard copies of the files, it's treated as a new file and it doesn't save the edit history of separate cells.

  22. Hi Natalia, I have a question regarding hirstory.I clicked the pop up saying you can make edit online and now the spreadsheet history is too slow and there is a popup saying your documents is too large you can resume editing online.So, does it mean I am offline in spreadsheet?how to get back online?please help me..I need the answer urgently.
    Thank you so much.
    Looking forward to hear from you.

    • Hi Nanie,

      Your spreadsheets don't go offline unless there's no Internet connection, so please make sure your connection is stable (try turning VPN off is you use one).

  23. Thanks for this informative blog. I have a question.

    The sheet I am working with has multiple tabs. When looking at "Version history", I click on the "Show changes" check box. Then I click on one of the change records to see the changes that have been made.

    It seems that I have to click on the different tabs and scroll through the sheet to find the highlighted changes.

    Is there a way to cause the system to go to the appropriate tab and automatically scroll to the change?

    • Thank you for your feedback and a question, Hank!

      There's a way to jump between edits and I've just added it to the article :) Please see the Tip and its screenshot right before this section.

    • Hello, I recently restore an old version and consequently, I can't see "edit history" in each cell.
      I tried to make a copy of an old version but I still can't see edit history, is there anyway to see again edit history in cells? Thank you.

Post a comment

Thank you for your comment!
When posting a question, please be very clear and concise. This will help us provide a quick and relevant solution to
your query. We cannot guarantee that we will answer every question, but we'll do our best :)