MacMost Now 585: Lion Versions Basics

Learn the basics of Versions, a new feature in Lion that saves multiple copies of your documents as you work. Gone are the Save and Save As commands we have been used to for years. Learn how to use the new Save, Save a Version and Duplicate commands that give you a safety net while you work.

Video Transcript
Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's take a look at the new versions feature in Lion. So the versions feature works pretty simply and if you're familiar with a time machine it works with kind of the same interface, but it does change how things work. If you're used to Save and Save As, as standard functions under the File Menu, well it's different now on Lion. Let's take a look. So here I'm in Pages. You're going to create a new document, just choose a blank word processing document. There. It's named 'untitled' you can see at the top and I can start typing it. I'm going to type something very simple, just the word 'one'. Now when I go to file, I notice things are different here now with versions. I've got Save and I don't have a Save As. But that's for different things. Let's start with Save here, since this is a brand new document, the first thing I need to do to get everything going is save. So when you create a new document save almost immediately to get things going. This will ask you for a name and I'm going to name it something, save it to the desktop, like that. Now I can see it has a name up there. Now if I look on the left here, I've got Close still but Save a Version is command S and there's no Save or Save As. So let's type another word, and now, let's do File, Save a Version or just command S. Now if I look here at the top, under test, the title, I can click on it and see i can Lock, Duplicate or Browse all Versions. I click Browse all Versions and there is a time machine-like interface where I can see my current document on the left, I can even move around in it like that. Or on the right I click on that and I can see the current version, but I can also go back in time, let's do that. Let me click on one back here and you can see it goes back to this previous version. You can see there's dark windows here, there's nothing beyond this version. I only have two. I can use the bar on the right to actually look at other versions if say I've been working this document for a long time we'll have more versions back there. I can even look in these old documents and navigate around them, even copy from them to paste later on. I can actually restore to this document if I want. I can jump back to the current document, hit Done to leave that. So, that's how I look at the versions of what I have. Now, I can continue to create new versions. Every time I do enough changes, I just do command S again like I did there and I'll have yet another version changed and what will happen is as I hit command S and also automatically every hour a new version will be changed. So eventually, I'll have dozens even hundreds of versions of the document if I've been working on it for a long time. Now, say I want to save as. The old Save As. We notice there is no way to do that, just save a version but Duplicate is the way to do that now. Hit Duplicate, and now I have two windows open, a test and a test copy and notice with test copy the front most window I opened, now it goes back to the save dot dot dot and it's going to ask me to save it with a new name. So basically, to duplicate how I used to do save as you do File, Duplicate, and then immediately save. That. I'm going to quit that right there. And I can also do, Revert to Saved here in File and it will bring me here to these previous versions, and another thing that you may be interested in knowing how to do is the autosave. So, the autosave doesn't appear anywhere here either. That's because it kind of works automatically. So let's say I type four and immediately quit. So notice it didn't ask me to save. I just added a new word, an hour didn't pass and certainly I didn't hit command s. So, if i rerun pages now you can see that it actually saved that. It's constantly saving, kinda like how iMovie's been working for a long time now. There's no save function, it just saves as you go along. So, that's how Autosave works. It wouldn't save a new version, it just basically lets you resume immediately with the document you were on without having to save and quit, you just quit, the save is assumed. So another thing i want to show you is locked documents. So, I noticed that test there has a little padlock next to it. When I open it up in pages it will open up fine and you'll see that it says locked up here. I can unlock it to continue to edit it and make changes, this will happen automatically after about two weeks if you haven't touched the document. The document gets kinda old it'll lock it for you automatically, so you don't accidentally change an old document. It'll also will show old documents before you upgraded to Lion as locked. So you simply have to look for the locked up here at the top, hit Unlock and now you can edit the document as before. So there's a quick look at versions. It works with Pages, Numbers, Keynote and also Text Edit and more applications. It's open for all developers to add versions functionality to their apps, so expect to see it rolled out in some of your favorite applications over the next months. Till next time, this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 16 Responses to “MacMost Now 585: Lion Versions Basics”

    7/29/11 @ 8:55 am

    What about all those versions taking up hard disk space?

      7/29/11 @ 10:01 am

      Peanuts. Hard disks are so huge and so cheap now. Editing a Pages, Numbers, Keynote or TextEdit document won’t even make a noticeable dent. A minute of video will dwarf it.
      It is far more valuable to have to versions feature than to worry about what probably amounts to pennies in hard drive space cost.

    7/29/11 @ 12:10 pm

    Does it somehow show you the differences between versions?
    Like the ‘svn diff’?

      7/29/11 @ 12:12 pm

      I don’t believe so. But play with it and see if you can find anything that works for you like that.
      In general, I have always thought of that as “revisions” rather than “versions.” But for coders, that’s a pretty standard feature.

    8/7/11 @ 2:38 pm

    would saving constantly eat up my hard drive space?

      8/7/11 @ 2:53 pm

      Yes. Little tiny bits, though. Pennies worth of drive space. Totally worth it considering what you are getting in return.

    Michael Pearce
    8/15/11 @ 12:37 pm

    I wish you would routinely click the triangle button to expand a mini-window any time you Save or Print, so people can see that there is more to those windows. You’d be amazed how many people don’t even know about expanding to full size. Apple doesn’t make it obvious and too many users are afraid to click on something just to learn what it is.

    9/19/11 @ 10:46 pm

    Pre Lion I ticked the preference box to save a backup of my iWork documents. I use Versions, so is the backup preference now of any use? Many thanks.

      9/20/11 @ 6:40 am

      Which preference box do you mean, specifically?

    9/20/11 @ 8:37 am

    In Pages Preferences under Saving the first check box is “Back up previous version when saving”. When this is checked it saves an additional copy of the document, which is named “Backup of XXXXXX”. I always had this checked in Snow Leopard, but am not sure whether it needs to be checked now that Lion has versions – seems like it is unnecessary to me. Unless of course this preference now also has something to do with saving in Versions.

      9/20/11 @ 8:47 am

      Seems unnecessary to me too. Just two different ways of doing it, I guess.

    9/20/11 @ 9:04 am

    Thank you, I thought that they would have done away with that option with the introduction of Versions – I suppose it could be an extra back up. Anyway I am happy to leave it unchecked now. Thanks again.

      9/20/11 @ 9:09 am

      Well, remember that the same version of Pages is the current version in Snow Leopard and Leopard too. Those users don’t have Versions.

    9/20/11 @ 9:26 am

    Yes, of course! Too caught up in my Lion world – sorry.

    7/26/12 @ 6:21 am


    I would like to know that does verions work also in Word for mac 2011? And if it does, how can use it??

      7/26/12 @ 8:13 am

      No, it doesn’t. The developer (Microsoft) would have to add that functionality. Contact them and request it for the next version.

Comments Closed.