Document Version Control 101

Document Version Control 101

What is Document Version Control Software?

Version control is helpful in a digital collaborative environment, where a number of different contributors may be working on the development of a document and it is important to track changes, capture key decisions and document the reviewing process. Document version control software (a.k.a. revision control software) automatically recognizes new versions of a document as it’s entered into the system. The software assigns the next available version number, based on the organization’s versioning scheme, while automatically archiving the previous version. With document version control software there’s no need to rename files or append version designators. And, while other version control tools only use file names for versioning,  Our EDMS solution lets you define the parameters that make sense for creating a new major version of a file.

Why do you need Document Version Control?

Tracking all changes to a document or a drawing may be necessary for some files but may not be needed for others.  So how do you decide which files need to be controlled and which do not.  There isn’t an easy answer, but those files where there are substantive changes or changes that trigger an action, assignment, notification, or resource requirement should be version controlled.  Maintaining older versions of documents for audit trails can be helpful for workflow analysis and during periods of contention, or even litigation.  In addition, many industries have regulatory requirements, such as HIPAA, that mandate if every change needs to be saved and for how long.

Since it’s often subjective as to what is “substantive,” it often becomes easier to just keep every change.  When existing backup requirements are considered, this can mean collecting and keeping a tremendous amount of data (especially if including emails), not to speak of the effort required to find the right version.  A rule of thumb is to not manually version control a file, or file type, if it will take you more than a minute to find a back rev or it is highly unlikely that anyone would ever need a previous version of the document or drawing.

9 Benefits of Implementing a Document Version Control Software
9 Benefits of Implementing Document Version Control Software

Types of Document Version Control


Local Document Version Control Software

Local document version control systems track changes to files locally, meaning the documents are stored on a user’s local device and are versioned either manually or automatically by the computer’s operating system. Local document version control is rudimentary in comparison to the functionality provided by document management version control software, as it leaves ample room for error when renaming or overwriting files or creating duplicate files.


Centralized Document Version Control Software

Centralized document version control systems utilize a single server and accommodates all the versioned files.  The centralized server enables users to view file versions across locations and update version numbers in a centralized location as a file or document is changed.  Using a centralized system ensures a single source of truth across teams, departments, locations, and organizations.


Version Control vs. Document Management. Why you need both?

Document version control, is the administration and management of documents (both digital and paper), including security, version control, approval, and storage. Document management, on the other hand, is the process of storing, managing, and distributing documents.  It simply includes all of the ways that teams collaborate with their files. To maintain a competitive edge in today’s market, organizations need robust engineering document management solution with both features.

Version control can be highly configurable, as versioning schemes can be changed depending on an organization’s preferred system. Version schemes can be numerical, alphabetical, or alphanumerical, and remain consistent throughout the system, or can vary by project. Versions can also be established on more than just a common file name or number to establish both major and minor versions of documents.

While document version control was initially used in software development, it can now be seen in engineering, construction, and new product development. Today, any engineering-based organization can benefit from using a version control system, as it allows them to stay organized and in-control of their essential workflows while ensuring correct versions of files are being used.  Engineering workflow and document management systems incorporate document version control as a way to help organizations manage every aspect of their company workflows from conceptual design to production.

Information workers and IT professionals spend an average of 4.5 hours a week searching for documents.

Source: IDC Information Worker Survey

Document Version Control for Engineering

As engineering projects are becoming more complex, the need for Version Control grows. ImageSite and Engine-Box allow engineers, technicians, administrative staff, and developers to use the check-out and check-in functionality to work on projects with assurance that existing versions cannot be edited concurrently with their changes, though users can view and download files being revised by others, if authorized to do so.

Additionally, document version control improves collaboration by permitting users to share and edit versions from any location, on any desktop or mobile device, making it simple for engineers to communicate between design and development centers.


CAD File Version Control

In conjunction with document version control, ImageSite and Engine-Box include a check-out/check-in feature that locks the file in the system to ensure a single source of truth across the organization. Checking out documents prevents accidental overwrites, eliminating duplicated efforts and rework.

Organizations can use the systems’ CAD Connectors to open and edit a CAD file within its native application while maintaining document version integrity.  When a file is checked-in, and if a new revision is created, the system ensures all file reference relationships are maintained, eliminating the need for users to manually re-establish these relationships.

EDMS features that enhance document version control

Document Version Control for SMBs

Small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) may not always see the value in using a document version control system, however, these systems provide a number of benefits for growing organizations. Growth-oriented businesses profit from implementing a version control system early, as expansion inevitably leads to an increase in complexity, and erroneous actions, making it difficult to locate back revisions or historical files when needed. Fortunately, organizations can mitigate many of these challenges using a solutions like a robust document version control system.

Read: Why it's Time For a Formal Document Management System?


Document Version Control for Business Enterprises

A business enterprise can immediately benefit from a document version control system, as it enables their remote workforce to collaborate over drawings and documents across multiple locations knowing they are using the most current and approved documents.  Since a document version control system automatically associate version numbers to each document as changes are made, organizations can effortlessly control new document versions throughout the company and visit back revisions when needed.

Ensuring Accuracy and Eliminating Errors

An EDMS with version control capabilities ensures accuracy, eliminating errors from using wrong drawing versions, and making it easier to manage file versions as changes are made to a document, increasing efficiency and productivity and reducing rework.  All back revisions can be stored and retrieved at any time, if the user has permission, eliminating the risk of losing valuable information that may be needed in older document versions.

Meeting Security Standards

Document version control software is also a must for system security compliance, helping to secure ISO 9001 and NIST and ITAR compliances, and by establishing audit trails of document actions made over time.


eQuorum specializes in engineering workflow and document management. Our comprehensive, yet easy-to-use software provides the solution to manage data from design to manufacturing and production, to sales, support and administration.

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