Many people believe that versioning is a simpler way to change a Microsoft Word file into a PDF file. While that’s certainly an important feature that many people use, the reality is that just about any computer can do it. Versioning is about much more than that. Let’s explore what people think it means, what it actually means, and what it could mean for your organization.
In its simplest form, versioning is all about saving documents while still being able to see different versions as they’re edited—without changing the file type or name. Using this feature allows users to keep draft versions in addition to new versions—without doing a thing. It also prevents users from mislabeling files, and it helps to assure that, by default, they’re viewing the most recent version of every document they access.
Why the Confusion?
It’s difficult to say with accuracy where the idea that versioning means converting a Word file to a PDF file originated. The best guess is that when people think of versions they think of file types. For example, if they have a document saved as a Word file, they may wonder how to get a PDF file version. They then assume that the way to do so is via the versioning feature.
While it is common for people to convert a Word file to a PDF file, this isn’t called versioning. It’s simply converting one file format to another. Most any computer can handle it, and there are thousands of sites online that exist solely for the purpose of doing these conversions. There are numerous reasons people want to convert Word files to PDF files, but the most common is because they want to take their editable document and make it un-editable.
The Advantages of Versioning
There are many reasons that versioning is a great feature. Keep in mind that not all programs include it, and in fact you won’t find many word processing software options that do. It’s absolutely essential in document management software (or DMS) for several reasons, which are detailed below.
- Versioning helps prevent accidentally writing over a file.
Many people have done it: accidentally overwritten a new file with an older version, or accidentally written over an older file with the newer version. This is typically done when a file is saved incorrectly. As a user attempts to save the updated option as a new file, they instead save it with the same file name as the previous file. While they don’t lose the new work, they do lose the original version.
This can be especially troubling for organizations that have compliance issues that require them to have a clear audit trail of when documents were edited, what was changed, and who changed them. Versioning saves all versions of a file so users never have to think about it. They simply open what they need, make the changes they need, and save it. If an administrator or auditor needs to access the original file, they’ll have access to every single version of it.
- Versioning helps you avoid mislabeling files.
Even users who are diligent about always saving their current file as a different version can run into trouble, namely: mislabeling files. All it takes is one keystroke off to make it virtually impossible to find the files they need. Whether their mistake results in the file being stored in a different folder, or makes it impossible to use the search feature to find the file they need, this can cause serious issues.
- Versioning ensures you’re using each document’s most recent version.
There’s nothing worse than referring to a document, only to realize that it’s not the most recent version. This can cause companies to base reports or procedures on inaccurate information, professionals to give their clients outdated information, or companies to redo work that’s already been done. When versioning is used, the latest version is automatically opened. As mentioned above, if users want the older versions they can choose them, but they can also rest assured that the first document they open is the most recent one.
Versioning is Just 1 of the Many Features of eFileCabinet
When you choose eFileCabinet you get not just versioning, but many other features, including:
- Storage without limitations
- Mobile access to your documents from anywhere you have an internet connection
- Data encryption that keeps your information secure
- Fully searchable text that makes it fast and easy to find exactly what you’re looking for
- Drag-and-drop data storage is faster and easier than the traditional ways to save data
- The ability to scan documents directly into your eFileCabinet drawers
- Document-level indexing
While versioning is an essential part of the features offered by eFileCabinet, there are hundreds of others, including those listed above. For organizations that want instant access to their secure documents, there’s truly no better choice on the market.