Excel Version History Not Showing

admin31 March 2023Last Update :

Unraveling the Mystery of Missing Excel Version History

Microsoft Excel is a powerhouse for data analysis and management, offering a plethora of features that cater to the needs of various users. One such feature is the version history, which allows users to view and revert to previous versions of their workbooks. However, there are times when users may find themselves staring at a screen where the version history should be, only to see nothing. This can be a source of frustration and confusion, especially when trying to track changes or recover lost data. In this article, we will delve into the reasons why Excel’s version history might not be showing and provide solutions to restore this crucial functionality.

Understanding Excel’s Version History Feature

Before we tackle the issue of a missing version history, it’s essential to understand what the version history feature is and how it functions within Excel. Version history is a feature that saves snapshots of a document at various points in time. This allows users to go back and see what changes were made and by whom, which is particularly useful for collaborative work.

How Version History Works in Excel

In Excel, the version history is typically available for files stored on OneDrive, SharePoint, or for workbooks shared with others. When you save your workbook, Excel automatically creates a version history that you can access by clicking on “File” > “Info” > “Version History”. Here, you can see a list of previous versions with timestamps and the names of collaborators who made changes.

Possible Reasons for Excel Version History Not Showing

When the version history is not visible, there could be several underlying causes. Let’s explore some of the most common reasons:

  • File Location: Version history is only available for files saved on OneDrive, SharePoint, or in a shared workspace. If your file is saved locally on your computer or on a network drive that doesn’t support versioning, you won’t see a version history.
  • Subscription Issues: Access to version history might be restricted if there are issues with your Microsoft Office subscription or if you’re using a version of Excel that doesn’t support this feature.
  • File Type: Version history is not supported for all file types. For instance, older formats like .xls won’t have version history available.
  • Internet Connectivity: A stable internet connection is required to access version history for files stored online. If you’re offline, you won’t be able to view it.
  • Settings and Permissions: Incorrect settings or insufficient permissions can also prevent version history from showing up.

Diagnosing and Solving the Issue

Now that we’ve identified potential reasons for the absence of version history, let’s discuss how to diagnose and solve these issues.

Checking File Location and Type

Firstly, ensure that your file is saved in a location that supports versioning, such as OneDrive or SharePoint. Also, check that your file is in a modern format like .xlsx. If it’s not, consider saving it as an .xlsx file to enable version history.

Verifying Subscription Status

If you suspect that your subscription might be the issue, verify your Microsoft Office subscription status. Ensure that you have an active subscription and that you’re logged in with the correct account.

Ensuring Internet Connectivity

For files stored online, make sure you have a stable internet connection. Without it, Excel cannot retrieve the version history from the cloud.

Reviewing Settings and Permissions

Check the settings in Excel to ensure that version history is enabled. Additionally, verify that you have the necessary permissions to view version history, especially if you’re working on a shared file.

Advanced Troubleshooting Techniques

If the basic checks don’t resolve the issue, it’s time to delve into more advanced troubleshooting techniques.

Using Excel’s Built-in Repair Tool

Excel comes with a built-in repair tool that can help fix issues with the application itself. To access it, go to “Control Panel” > “Programs” > “Programs and Features”, find Microsoft Office in the list, click on it, and then choose “Change” > “Repair”.

Updating Excel to the Latest Version

Sometimes, simply updating Excel to the latest version can resolve compatibility issues and restore missing features like version history.

Checking for Conflicts with Add-ins

Add-ins can sometimes interfere with Excel’s functionality. Try running Excel in Safe Mode or disabling add-ins to see if this resolves the issue.

Preventive Measures and Best Practices

To minimize the chances of version history not showing up in the future, consider adopting the following best practices:

  • Regularly save your workbooks in supported locations like OneDrive or SharePoint.
  • Maintain an active and compatible Microsoft Office subscription.
  • Keep Excel updated to the latest version.
  • Ensure that you have the necessary permissions to access version history.
  • Regularly check your internet connection when working with online files.

FAQ Section

Why can’t I see the version history for my Excel file?

The version history may not be visible if the file is not saved in a supported location, if there are subscription issues, if the file type is not supported, if there’s no internet connectivity, or if there are incorrect settings or insufficient permissions.

Can I access version history for files saved locally on my computer?

No, version history is only available for files saved on OneDrive, SharePoint, or in a shared workspace that supports versioning.

How do I enable version history in Excel?

Version history is automatically enabled for files saved in supported locations. Ensure that your file is saved on OneDrive or SharePoint and that you have an active Microsoft Office subscription.

What should I do if updating Excel doesn’t restore the version history?

If updating Excel doesn’t work, try using the built-in repair tool, checking for conflicts with add-ins, or contacting Microsoft support for further assistance.

Is version history available for all Excel file formats?

No, version history is not available for older file formats like .xls. Save your file as an .xlsx to enable version history.


The absence of Excel’s version history can be a significant hindrance, especially when working on collaborative projects. By understanding the feature, identifying the reasons why it might not be showing, and following the troubleshooting steps provided, you can restore this essential functionality. Remember to adopt the best practices outlined to prevent future issues and ensure a smooth Excel experience.

In the dynamic world of data management, staying informed and prepared is key. By mastering the intricacies of Excel’s version history, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle any challenges that come your way.

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