Version control for word documents

vensali used Ask the Experts™
We are preparing a business process document for large project implementation in which multiple people will be  collaborating and contributing the information.

Can expert suggest what is the best method to have tight version control for the word/visio documents
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Expert Office
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Senior Information Technology Consultant
Word and Visio? You might already be licensed for what comes next.

Sharepoint.  Minimum 2010.  2013 better.  I think 2016 is out because I just upgraded my Office 365 to Office for Business 2016.

A version being a complete copy of a document.  You can keep as many copies as want.  

Document libraries support version control at several levels. By default, versioning is not enabled, but is enabled in the document library settings.  Once you create a Document Library, navigate to that library:
1 Select Library Settings in the Settings section.
2 Under General Settings, select Version Settings.
3 Select the version options required, under Document Version History.

It gets better, you can also enable Workflow for Documents and Exchange Integration.  This allows you to setup a flow process for documentation.   Then, you can create collaboration, assign permissions using AD and Exchange.  Then, you turn on "Rights Management"

Check out Microsoft Information Rights Management Server and the Sharepoint with Exchange Integration

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Scott HelmersVisio Consultant, Trainer, Author, and Developer
Most Valuable Expert 2011

Two thoughts to supplement Brian's excellent response:
1) If you want to track individual changes inside Word, turn on revision tracking on the Review tab. This is not a replacement for SharePoint version control at the document level, but it preserves character-by-character changes inside the doc. Visio does not have a similar capability.
2) Visio 2016 supports IRM that Brian mentioned. Previous versions of Visio do not.
One other point to add to these is that you should think carefully about what 'version' means to the various audiences. ie:  the difference between the document version as managed by SharePoint and you PMO view of the documents revisions. It boils down to the fact that SharePoint will increment its version number for each time the document gets checked back in whilst you will probably want the version of the content itself to be managed separately - this can be handled in the workflow that Brian mentions but is configurable and it pays the think about it up front.

For example: There is the concept in SharePoint of a 'published' document, technical people will be comfortable that this means 'latest version available' but business people will tend to think of it as 'latest version approved' (because Publishing has a different meaning for them).

How you handle this will depend on your approach to the development of the documentation - typically you will want to move the document through various stages related to its content, Draft, version 1, Approved for distribution, etc. Set these stages up using workflow to ensure that the appropriate approvers confirm each status and the 'version number' in SharePoint can then be used to track document edits rather than maturity of content.

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