Google Sheets Auditing

I use and recommend Google Sheets for some types of projects. It's useful when you have a situation where you need to collaborate with low friction and/or you need to gather data from a web site form or an online service. 

For me, one of the big selling points, other than the low cost, is the ability to run scripts automatically based on triggers. I frequently use this feature to do data integrity checks or to summarize something and email it to interested parties.

One feature that I don't talk about much however is the very useful Version History feature. It came in handy for me recently. Version history allows you to see every change made in a spreadsheet as well as who did it and when. You can even revert to older versions in case of a major disaster.

I had a client contact me to let me know the data on an important spreadsheet didn't look right. It looked as if data had disappeared over the weekend. Using the version history feature I was able to look at the value in question as I checked old versions of the sheet. Sure enough, some data had disappeared over the weekend. 

With version history I was able to see what data had been added to the sheet at the exact moment the change occurred. It gave me a hot lead on finding the error. This sheet is pretty complex so being able to quickly find and correct issues saves me time and my customers money.

How do you use it?


In your Google Sheet, click the file menu and click "Version History". Next select "See Current History". The version history is slow to load so be patient. On the right side of the screen you will see a list of changes. Click on any of those to see what the sheet looked like immediately after than change. The cells that changed are highlighted. The highlight color corresponds to the person who made the change. 

It's incredibly useful and something you can't do with traditional Excel spreadsheets.