If you’re working on a long project or report, then it can become pretty difficult to keep track of all the content that you have to manage. Also, if you make a change that you don’t like, then it may be hard to remember what things were like originally a few days down the line when you look at it again.
Versions in Lion aims to solve this problem by keeping track of every change made in your document since you first started it, so that you’re less likely to lose content that you want, and you can feel more free to play around with content layouts and text without worrying about whether it will turn out worse than it was before.
Coupled with auto save, which automatically saves a version of your document each time a change is made to it so you don’t have to remember to save it manually, Versions allows you to go back in time with your document in a Time Machine like interface.
To enter Versions mode whilst you’re in your document, go to ‘File’ > ‘Revert to saved…’ and the desktop will disappear behind your document, revealing a split view of the document in its current state and the previous versions of your document.
The great thing about this view is that the file you currently have open will remain editable. You can edit the text, re-arrange images and text boxes, and do everything you’d normally do in a regular window. Of course, you don’t enter Versions mode to carry on tinkering with your document with a nice space animation in the background – I mean, I’m sure some people do, but it’s not exactly mucho productivo, is it? – so there is another advantage to this view.
For some reason, you can’t simply drag and drop content at the moment, which makes it slightly more taxing to take content from one document to the other, but hopefully this will come in a future version (sorry). Right now, if you just drag and drop and image it will fly off into space behind your document, so don’t try it at home!
As well as copying certain aspects back in to your document, you can simply restore an entire previous version of it back to the present. Of course, the version that you were working on previously will be saved as a previous version, so if you change your mind then performing a u-turn is just a formality.
There’s no doubt that Versions is a great feature, and will save a lot of heartache when writing up a long report or simply recovering an image you thought you’d lost when you got rid of it a few weeks ago. It’s currently fully compatible with TextEdit, as well as the iWork suite, so give it a go and let us know what you think in the comments!