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When I am about to edit a Microsoft Word document, I can do undo and redo. If I close that document, undo and redo will not be available anymore. If and how does Microsoft Word support SVN or any type of version control? Can I switch between versions of a document?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

The easiest way to do it is to allow tracking changes in a document (you can find more about this in this FAQ):

Track Changes is a way for Microsoft Word to keep track of the changes you make to a document. You can then choose to accept or reject those changes.

Let's say Bill creates a document and emails it to his colleague, Lee, for feedback. Lee can edit the document with Track Changes on. When Lee sends the document back to Bill, Bill can see what changes Lee had made.

Track Changes is also known as redline, or redlining. This is because some industries traditionally draw a vertical red line in the margin to show that some text has changed.

Here's an article on how you can enable and disable this feature.

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Word 2007 does have the ability to compare two Word files - in fact if you use TortoiseSVN for interacting with a Subversion repository and ask for a diff of a word file in your repository, it'll fire up Word in the compare mode.

If you want to manually invoke this functionality in Word 2007, go to Review > Compare and select Compare...

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There used to be a feature to save multiple versions of a document in the same file, but this was removed in Word 2007 (although it can still read files with versions in that were created with earlier versions of Microsoft Word).

One option would be to save your documents to one of the online backup services that automatically save revisions for you, such as Drop Box.

You could also try CS-RCS as a revision control system. I think it has good handling for Word files (e.g. you can compare any two versions, and it shows them as a set of changes in Word).

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We have developed Microsoft Office integration with Subversion - MagnetSVN.
With MagnetSVN you can:

  • Record history of document changes;
  • Undo your last changes even if you've just opened the document.

You can download MagnetSVN from on our site and it try for free.

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