How to Track Changes in Google Sheets With Email Notifications and Version History

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How to Track Changes in Google Sheets With Email Notifications and Version History

In the era of distant work, simple collaboration is critical. Fortunately, Google includes a plethora of sharing tools that enable several people to collaborate on the same project. Knowing who changed a file and when is critical for good spreadsheet management.

Google Sheets, thankfully, includes two tools that enable you to trace the modifications made to your spreadsheets. Google Sheets alerts are the first, and version history is the second. In this post, we’ll go over these crucial functionalities in depth, show you how to enable them, and explain why they’re important for your spreadsheets.

Why Use Email Notifications in Google Sheets?

It might be difficult to identify what modifications are made by each collaborator while working on a big sheet with numerous workers making updates to a spreadsheet. It is much preferable to know who made a certain modification, particularly for project managers.

We can use version history to determine who made the modification. However, if there are enough occurrences, looking through version history might get laborious. You may instead utilize Google Sheets Notifications. Sheets will inform you by email in this case (s).

If you’re often on the move, make sure your mobile email alerts are on so you don’t miss anything.

How to Enable Email Notifications in Google Sheets

It just takes a few minutes to enable email alerts, and once enabled, they will remain active until you make additional changes to the settings. To enable alerts, follow these steps:

  1. Open the spreadsheet where you wish to activate email alerts.
  2. At the top of your spreadsheet, click Tools. A drop-down option will appear.
  3. Notification rules opens a new window in the center of the screen.
  4. The regulations may be established here. If you pick a notification option from the first section, you must specify when you wish to receive them. Either any adjustments are made or a form is submitted by a user.
  5. You may choose Email – Daily Digest or Email – Right Away in the second box.
  6. When you’ve decided on your desired options, click Save.
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We’ll go through each of the options in further depth later in the essay.

How to Add and Delete Notification Rules in Google Sheets

To add new rules, amend existing ones, or remove them, go to the Set notification rules option by clicking on Tools and Notification rules.

If you already have a notification rule, it will be shown in the list. To add a new notification rule, click Delete or Edit, or hit Add another notification rule. When you’re through making changes, click Done to save them.

Understanding the Options in Notification Rules

The notification rules are divided into two sections: Notify me when and Notify me with.

1. Notify me at [Your Email] when…

  • Any modifications are made: When you choose this option, any changes to the spreadsheet are recorded and sent to the user by email, either instantly or in a daily digestible digest.
  • If you choose this option, you will be notified everytime someone submits a form. You may connect your Google Forms to your spreadsheet. This might be anything from a questionnaire to a university application form.

2. Notify me with…

  • Email – Daily Digest: When this option is selected, a list of user modifications will be sent at the end of the day or at a predetermined time. If you choose this option, you will get alerts after they have been made rather than immediately. Individuals who prefer not to be alerted of changes immediately benefit from this. It’s also excellent for individuals who work for a large corporation where the spreadsheet they’re working on is continuously changing, since it prevents alerts from flooding your email. Make sure the arrival time is outside of your email blocking period, if you have one.
  • When you choose this option, you will get an email anytime a modification to their spreadsheet occurs. This is perfect for employees who work with sensitive data and want to be notified if anything changes.
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We wouldn’t use this option for a sheet with more than two or three contributors, since you’ll be inundated with alerts. If you must utilize this approach, you should create a Gmail folder to receive all alerts.

Why Use Google Sheets Version History?

If you don’t want email alerts but want to keep track of changes to your spreadsheet, you can utilize Google Sheets Version History. Google Sheets will even store minor modifications if they occur far enough apart, so you won’t miss any significant changes.

Only the spreadsheet’s owner and anyone with edit access to the spreadsheet may examine the version history of a spreadsheet in Google Sheets.

Because the modifications are stored in the cloud, you may view the version history and get the precise version you need. This is ideal if one of your team members (or you) made a mistake and has to revert to an earlier version. You may also label the modifications to help you determine which version you want.

How to View Version History in Google Sheets

To see Google Sheets version history, make sure there are enough modifications to a sheet before Sheets can generate a change log. The following are the steps to get the version history:

  1. In the top bar, choose File. This will bring up a drop-down menu.
  2. There, choose Version history.
  3. From the menu, choose See version history. Alternatively, press Ctrl + Alt + Shift + H.

On the right side of the screen, a sidebar will appear. There, you may restore this version by clicking on the three vertical dots next to the earlier versions. You may also name certain saves by clicking on Name this version. Make a copy if you wish to create a new spreadsheet instance.

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When you create a new copy of the spreadsheet, it starts from scratch and has a new version history. If you still want to keep track of the changes in the new spreadsheet, you should remove the previous one to prevent future misunderstanding.

Differences Between Email Notifications and Version History

Google Sheets notifications enable you to get emails whenever a user makes changes to the spreadsheet. Changes are just registered and not actively reported to the user while utilizing Version history.

The Tip of the Iceberg

For critical spreadsheets, it’s usually a good idea to employ both of these capabilities. Although the two elements mentioned in this article are excellent for collaboration, they represent just a tiny portion of the tools available to spreadsheet teams via Google Sheets.

There’s still a lot to learn, so stay up with all this powerful application has to offer.

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