This video introduces Excel's Versions feature. The Versions feature is fantastically useful and when you completely understand it, you'll no longer ever lose any of your work.
First I'll talk about how the Versions feature works, and then I'll explain why it's so useful. While you're working with Excel, Excel keeps an eye on the time. And every 10 minutes, by default, it saves a version of the workbook you're working with onto your hard drive.
After another 10 minutes have elapsed, it saves another version.
After another 10 minutes, yet another version, and so on all of the time you're working with your workbook.
Now let me explain why this is so useful. You could be working on a workbook for many hours and at some point during those hours you might delete a really important worksheet, but you only notice your error a couple of hours later.
With the new Versions feature, you're able to easily regress to that earlier version from two hours ago and recover the missing worksheet. This can potentially save many hours of work.
It's important to realize though, that as soon as you save Excel and close, all of those previous versions are deleted, because, if Excel left them on the hard drive, you'd soon fill up your hard drive with thousands of old versions.
But there are certain circumstances in which Excel doesn't delete all of the old versions when you close Excel. For example, I'm going to try and close this workbook now, and Excel gives the familiar message: Do you want to save the changes you've made? Perhaps I'll click the wrong button by mistake, or perhaps I simply don't want to save the recent changes to this workbook. In this case, when I click the Don't Save button, Excel doesn't delete all of the old versions. It keeps hold of the last version saved.
The last version saved is referred to as a Draft version by Excel. Excel keeps hold of this Draft version, even when you've created a brand new workbook that you've never saved and then you close it without saving. I find this an absolute life saver.
For example, I often have a customer call me and ask for a quotation. So I quickly fire up Excel and create the quotation for them. I think I'll never hear from this customer again, so I don't bother saving the quotation. But later in the day the customer calls up to order. I think: “I really wish I'd saved that workbook so I could go back and see what I quoted”. With the new Draft feature I can do just that, because Excel will have kept hold of the last version saved even though this was a workbook that had never been saved.
Excel keeps these draft versions for four days. After four days, Excel assumes that you will never want to go back to this version and it quietly deletes it in the background.
Let's now move to Excel and see this in action.
Before beginning to use the Versions feature, we need to check some of the settings. I'm going to click File at the top left corner, then Options, and then in the left menu bar, Save. And you can see that, at the moment, Excel is saving AutoRecover information every 10 minutes. I'm going to use the spin bar to reduce that to one minute, just so that this lesson goes a little quicker.
It's important that both checkboxes are checked.
That's Save AutoRecover every minute now, and Keep the last autosaved version if I close without saving. This lesson is all about that second option: Excel's ability to save a draft version even if you've never actually saved a workbook at all.
I'm now going to click OK, and when I return to Excel I'll type some information starting in cell A1. Mary had a little lambIts fleece was white as snow.
I now need to wait for at least one minute so that Excel has an opportunity to make an automatic save of this workbook. After waiting a minute, I click the Close button at the top right corner to close Excel.
And look at the dialog that's being displayed. It says: If you click 'Don't Save', a recent copy of this file will be temporarily available. That's Excel's cryptic way of saying that it's saved a draft copy, and it's going to keep that draft copy for four days just in case you decide that you really wanted to keep this workbook.
So I'll click the Don't Save button, and we'll see whether we can get this information back again. To do that, I'll re-open Excel and I'm going to click Open Other Workbooks on the left menu bar.
Notice that there's a button at the bottom of this dialog that says Recover Unsaved Workbooks. I'm going to click that button now, and you can see the unsaved workbook that Excel has saved for me. This is called a draft copy of the workbook.
I'll now open that draft copy and you can see that, even though I've never saved this workbook, I've now recovered it from the hard drive. And let's imagine that you do want to keep this file forever more. So I'll click Save As to save to my hard drive.
I'm now going to navigate to my Sample Files Folder. That's on the C drive in the Practice folder and Excel 2013 Essential Skills. I won't save inside the Session 1 folder, as that might overwrite an existing file. Instead, I'll save it here to the folder above and I'll give it the name: Mary. And then I'll click Save.
I'll now close Excel and, just before leaving this lesson, I'd just like to caution you against relying upon the Versions feature to protect you from a hard drive failure.
There's a probability between 1 in 25 and 1 in 50 of your hard drive failing each year. In an office of a 100 workers that means that between 2 and 4 unlucky workers will suffer a hard drive failure every year.
If your hard drive fails everything on it is lost, so the Versions feature won't help you. You need to make regular backups to a different device, such as a memory stick or an external hard drive. Normally, in a commercial environment, your IT Department will backup every network drive every night.
With Excel 2013 it's also possible to mirror your files to a OneDrive. That's a drive that's on a Microsoft server many miles away. You'll learn all about how to do that in Session 8, when the whole subject of Cloud Computing will be comprehensively covered.
And you've now completed: Lesson 1-10 Use the Versions feature to recover an unsaved Draft file.