If you’re working on a Google Sheets project with other team members, there is every likelihood that you would want to track changes made by each person you’re sharing the sheet with. Thankfully, doing this in Google Sheets is a walk in the park.
Today’s tutorial will give you a comprehensive walkthrough on how to track changes in Google Sheets. And yes, you don’t need to have a ton of experience with Google Sheets before you can track changes. The process only takes a few minutes, and you’re good to go.
But before we show you the nitty gritty of tracking changes in Google Sheets, let’s quickly look at why it’s important to track changes in Google Sheets.
Why tracking changes in Google Sheets is important
Tracking changes in Google Sheets saves you a lot of headaches. For starters, it allows you to see any edits on your spreadsheet. Not just that, it also gives you details on when the changes were made. If you don’t approve of the changes made, you can quickly revert back to the previous version of the spreadsheet.
However, unlike other software in the Google ecosystem, like Docs, the track change feature on Google Sheets works differently. In Google Sheets, there is no feature that lets users see all the changes made to a document. So to track the changes made to a worksheet, users must use other functions.
Here is how Google Sheets tracking works:
- Google Sheets tracking can be in the form of a notification. You can set it up in such a way that you get an email notification whenever a change is made to the spreadsheet.
- You can track changes made in cells
- You can also view the entire version history.
While today’s guide is entirely focused on showing you how to track changes in Google Sheets, did you know that you can also protect cells or even an entire worksheet from changes? Read this comprehensive guide to learn how to lock cells in Google Sheets.
Tracking changes in Google Sheets: Step-by-step guide
Having brought you up to speed on why tracking changes in Google Sheets is important, it’s time to jump into the practical aspect of this Google Sheets tutorial.
Remember, we stated above that there are different ways to track changes in Google Sheets. Let’s quickly look at the first method of tracking changes in Google Sheets.
Using notification rules to track changes in Google Sheets
One of the popular ways to track changes in Google Sheets is using the notification rules. What the notification rules does is enable email notifications. Once this is in place, you’ll receive an email notification every time changes are made to your spreadsheet. This way, you’re up to date on everything going on within your spreadsheet.
When tweaking the notification rules to track changes in Google Sheets, there are several customization settings you can make. You can either choose to get the notification instantly or set it so that you get a comprehensive list of changes made at the end of the day.
You can also enable email notifications for when the spreadsheet changes or when someone working on the same sheet submits a form.
If you use Google Forms to collect information for your spreadsheet, you’ll find this feature particularly helpful. Once the settings are in place, you’ll receive an email notification whenever a user submits a form.
Read on as we show you how to enable notifications to track changes in Google Sheets. Here is the sample data we will be using for this tutorial.
Step 1: Open the spreadsheet you want to track changes
The first thing you want to do is open the spreadsheet that you want to enable email notifications for.
Step 2: Tools > Notification settings
After opening the spreadsheet, you want to enable notifications for; it’s time to start making the necessary changes. You want to navigate to the Tools menu, select the option for “Notifications settings.” and choose “Edit notifications.”
Once you choose the option for “Edit notifications,” Google Sheets automatically launches a smaller window in the middle of your spreadsheet. You should find several options you can tweak.
The first option is to get notifications when changes are made to the spreadsheet or when a form is submitted. The second option allows you to get an email notification immediately when changes are made to your spreadsheet. In addition, you can also choose whether you want to receive a list of changes made at a specific time. Feel free to select the option that works best for you.
Step 3: Click on save
Done selecting your preferred notification settings? Great, now click on Save, and you’re good to go. If you want to see if notification settings are working, you can share the file with someone else and ask them to make changes. If you followed all the steps we detailed above, you should get an email notification about the changes made to your spreadsheet.
Edit or delete notifications settings
There are times when you might need to delete or edit notification settings. Should that ever be the case, here is how you can seamlessly do that.
- Head to the Tools menu, as we showed you earlier, and choose Notification settings. From the options you see, select “Edit notifications.”
- After choosing the “Edit notifications” option, you’ll be able to see the rules you have previously set. Also, you should see an option for “Edit” or “Delete,” so choose the one that works best for you.
If you look closely at the bottom of the window, you’ll notice that you have the option to add another notification. So in case you need to add an extra notification to your spreadsheet, you can select that option.
Track changes in Google Sheets via version history
When we kicked off today’s Google Sheets tutorials, we mentioned the different methods of tracking changes in Google Sheets. Having shown you how to track changes in Google Sheets by enabling notification settings, we now want to show you how to track changes in Google Sheets with version history.
Tracking changes in Google Sheets with version history is great if you don’t want to receive emails in your inbox. And since Google Sheets has a version history feature, you can easily keep track of any changes made to the document.
Keep in mind that the changes in the version history can only be viewed by either the originator of the spreadsheet or people who have been granted access to edit the file. What’s unique about Google Sheets version history is that any changes made are typically saved to Google’s cloud servers, which means you can keep track of changes made and when. And yes, you can also name the changes. This way, you can distinguish one edit from another.
How to see changes in Google Sheets via version history
Want to track changes in Google Sheets by viewing version history? Here is how to go about it.
Step 1: Open the Spreadsheet you want to view the version history
Start by opening the spreadsheet you want to view the version history.
Step 2: File > Version history > See version
Now, navigate to File menu, scroll all the way down and select the option for Version history. You should see two different options; select “See version history.”
If the above step seems a little complicated, you can use the keyboard shortcut “Ctrl + Alt + Shift + H.”
If you did everything right, a new window should immediately open, showing you all the changes made.
Here is what our sample spreadsheet looks like.
And as we reiterated earlier, you can name each version history, making it easy to keep track of changes made in your spreadsheet.
Here is how to rename a version history:
On the version history page, hover your cursor on the version you’d like to name. You should notice three ellipses, click on that and choose the option for “Name this version.”
There you have it. That’s how to track changes in Google Sheets with version history.
How to spot edit history in Google Sheets using Cell History
Are you collaborating on a Google Sheets project with someone else and suspect they must have changed data in specific cells in the spreadsheet? Well, Google Sheets now has a unique feature that allows you to track changes made to specific cells in your spreadsheet.
So if you’re interested in knowing the edit history of a specific cell in your spreadsheet, here is how to go about it:
Step 1: Select the cell you want to track edits for
If you have a cell you think has been edited, but you want to know for sure whether anyone tampered with the data in that cell, you can simply right-click on that cell. Scroll all the way down and choose the option for “Show edit history.”
If any changes have been made to that particular cell, a small window should appear just opposite the cell. Here, you’ll see the name of the person who made the change, along with the changes they made. Here is what we got after executing the steps detailed above.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it possible to track changes in Google Sheets?
Just like other apps in Google’s ecosystem, tracking changes in Google Sheets is possible. If you’d like to get email notifications every time changes are made to your spreadsheet, especially from people you share the spreadsheet with, you can activate the Notifications settings. If you need help doing that, you can navigate all the way up and find the steps for activating notification settings in Google Sheets to track changes.
Alternatively, you can use the version history feature in Google Sheets, which makes it a lot more seamless to track changes in Google Sheets. What’s unique about the version history feature is that every change made to the spreadsheet is automatically saved to Google’s cloud servers. This means you won’t miss any changes made to your worksheet.
Also, we already showed you the steps to check for version history, so feel free to check that section for clarifications.
can you track changes in google sheets Automatically?
When working with Google Sheets, you need to activate notification settings before you can track changes in real time. If you activate notifications settings, you’ll get real-time email notifications when someone else makes changes to your spreadsheet.
On the flip side, version history is automatically activated whenever you’re working on a new worksheet. Whenever changes are made to your spreadsheet, it is automatically logged. To view these changes, you can head to the File menu and choose the option for Version history. This action will present you with two options, select “See Version history.”
Is it possible to know when changes are made to my spreadsheet by someone else?
If you’re collaborating on a Google Sheets project with other team members, it’s possible to know when someone else makes changes to the spreadsheet. To do this, you need to activate notification settings.
In today’s guide, we showed you how to activate notifications settings to get email notifications any time someone edits the spreadsheet you’re working on. If you need to learn how to activate notifications to track changes in Google Sheets, please read that section in today’s guide. We provided step-by-step details that should guide you every step of the way.
Tracking changes in Google Sheets has to be one of the easiest things to do. So whether this is your first time attempting to track changes in Google Sheets or something you have done before, we are sure today’s Google Sheets tutorial has simplified the entire process.
In today’s guide, we showed you different ways to track changes in Google Sheets, complete with image illustrations on how to go about it. Feel free to choose whatever method gets the job done.
We sincerely hope this guide on how to track changes in Google Sheets has helped you better understand how to stay updated on changes made to a spreadsheet project you’re working on with your team.