by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 22, 2015)
Linda wrote about a problem involving the versions feature in Word. It seems that sometimes, but not always, the different versions stored in a document behave oddly. For instance, when a user selects a version from the Versions window and clicks on Open, the version that is actually opened is the current version, not the one originally saved using the feature.
Believe it or not, this problem may not be all that uncommon. The problem is related to the complexity of the Word documents created using the versions feature. Each version you save increases the complexity and size of the document. If you have a lot of versions, the document complexity becomes untenable, and the document becomes much more prone to corruption. Just one little glitch is all it takes to have a document become unstable or unusable.
A better solution to versions is to not use the feature. (I know—it makes no sense for Microsoft to include features that users can't rely on or recommend to fellow users. They do it anyway; go figure!) How, then, is one to save different versions? The old fashioned way may be the best—save discrete documents at each benchmark in your development process. Give the documents names that indicate the version represented by each document. In this way, individual document complexity is decreased and overall reliability increased.
It appears that Microsoft agreed that the best solution is just not to sue the Versions feature, as it has been removed completely from Word 2007.
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