How to use Dropbox Version History and save crucial documents

If you overwrite important data when uploading a file to your Dropbox account, don't panic--there's a quick way to revert to a previous iteration of that file. Here's how.

Image: Jack Wallen

Dropbox is one of the most widely-used cloud storage services on the planet, according to Cloudwards. With Dropbox, you can sync your files/folders to numerous devices at any time.

Users need to very careful, though, because it's possible to overwrite crucial documents in Dropbox. When that happens, you'll be relieved to know that with a few quick clicks you can revert that file to the data you need.

Dropbox's outstanding version history feature retains snapshots of files from the past 30 days; you can extend that beyond 30 days with the Extended Version History feature, which is only offered in Dropbox Pro and Dropbox Education. Regardless of the version of Dropbox, you can revert to previous iterations of text files, spreadsheets, images, and more.

Let's walk through how to open a file that has been replaced on Dropbox. Note: This feature is only available on the Dropbox web-based client; you cannot use version history on the desktop or mobile Dropbox apps.

SEE: Cloud Data Storage Policy (Tech Pro Research)

Reverting a file to a previous version

When you log into your Dropbox account, you'll see a list of all your files. Say, for example, you uploaded an expenses file for 2016, and then you realized it contained incorrect data. Here's what you need to do.

  1. Navigate to the folder containing the file in question.
  2. Right-click the file.
  3. Click Previous Versions.
  4. From the resulting window (Figure A), click the version you want and click the Restore button.
  5. When prompted, click Restore.

Figure A

Figure A

The Restore button appears when you hover over the file to be restored.

Image: Jack Wallen

Your file will revert to the version you selected, and the version it replaces will be saved. (Remember: The previous versions will only be saved for 30 days, unless you're working with either a Pro or an Education account.) That's all there is to it!

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By Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic, The New Stack, and Linux New Media. He's covered a variety of topics for over twenty years and is an avid promoter of open source. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen....