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How to save and restore InDesign CC document versions easily


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How often do you look at your current InDesign CC document and wish you’d saved a copy when it looked better around 2 hours earlier?

Even once is too often! The more milestones or “base camps” you can create, the better because it lets you experiment boldly with the knowledge that you can always go back and change your mind. And wouldn’t it be great if you could easily call back on all those concept designs?

Save a Copy

InDesign has a feature in the File menu that lets you set a milestone or base camp that you can return to, called Save a Copy. Here’s how it works: whenever you think you want to save a version, you can choose File > Save a Copy, name it (add something like “_v2” to the name), and click OK. InDesign saves a copy of your document with the new name, but you continue working on the main version of your document.

Later, you can return to any of those milestone documents simply by opening it.

The problem is that you have to deal with that Save a Copy dialog box over and over again, and then later you don’t have any good way to figure out which version is which, except probably opening them one at a time.

Or Get the Add-on

Oppolis Software – creators of GoProof – have launched a new, inexpensive extension called GoVersion to make this process easier.

(GoVersion is just a $10 one-off cost per Adobe Creative Cloud annual version. The current GoVersion add-on is compatible with CC 2015 – CC 2018 and is available from the Adobe Add-on Store.)

It helps to keep options open when designing and is really useful from first draft stage all the way through to final signed off version. Here’s how to do it.

Quick Setup

Pick up GoVersion and install it. Open it up from the Window > Extensions list in InDesign CC (or from Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC – it works with those too).

GoVersion uses a catalogue to display your documents right next to you in the CC extension. This is how you can easily get to previous versions without browsing through file folders.

You can choose where to save the catalog file, which can be a private or shared location depending on who is going to be accessing the documents. Adobe Creative Cloud storage (now 100GB as standard) is an easy option, but you can put it anywhere.

That’s it! Now start designing.

Saving New Versions

Open your design document and save it where everyone who needs it can get to it.

Design away and when you get to what feels like a milestone or save point — no matter how premature or basic you may think it is — hit the Save Version button in the GoVersion extension.

It’s a good idea to add a few notes in the panel for each version so you can identify it later.

There’s no limit to the number of milestone versions you can save. Each time you do, you’re creating an enriched creative timeline documenting all the thought processes, steers, and design components you used along the way.

It’s insurance against any creative reversal decisions in the future.

Being able to draw upon any milestone version from your trail is invaluable. And you haven’t switched to a ‘Save As’ document at any time.

Reviewing and Restoring Previous Versions

Under the hood, your versions are being saved in a folder right next to your original document. The catalog in the GoVersion add-on provides the portal to get to them quickly.

Saved documents are displayed in a List or Grid view.


To dive deeper into the versions of each one, you can use the History button. Double-click the version you want to view or use and it will reopen in a tab next to your current one so that you can compare versions!

Then, if you find components or elements you liked more in a previous version than you do now, just copy and paste them over from the old document to the new one. Or… if you preferred an earlier version in its entirety, hit Restore to bring it back to life as the current version. The Clear History button keeps the latest version only and frees up storage space if you need to.

It’s that clean and simple.

Hook it into GoProof

I should mention that GoVersion hooks into its sibling GoProof to fill a gap in the wider creative approval process. GoVersion works with any level of active GoProof account and will instantly be recognized by GoProof once you’ve installed it. (It comes free of charge with GoProof Enterprise and is $10 for Free and Pro versions of GoProof.)

Whenever you send your collaborators a proof to review — which could be your version 25 but their version 1 — GoProof automatically saves a version of your CC document in the background. That means that essentially you have two creative trails in play: yours and theirs. And you may bank a few more saves before you send them another version, so their version 2 could now be your version 29.

Don’t regret it, save it!

  • Renana Scripts has just released something similar but with support for book files.

  • Annie says:

    I’ve always found Time Machine does this very satisfactorily — mostly I remember which day (or even time of day) the book I wish to restore is what I want.

  • JBWazere says:

    What’s wrong with Time Machine?

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