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The Dark Side: Points To Consider

If you distribute your documents to other people electronically, they can read any versions you didn’t delete. This is a major security consideration. If your document has been passed to other people for review, the resulting versions might include editorial revisions, snarky comments, cost or time estimates, or the names of other clients. The security risks posed by unexpurgated versions are especially hazardous in law offices, where leaks of this type can have led on occasion to alarming business and financial repercussions.

Even when documents are distributed among the mere mortals of your workgroup, you might like to trim any unnecessary versions because they puff up the size of your document.

Naturally, you can delete versions manually, but some people create a clean copy to send to others by saving a final version with all the most current changes, opening that version, and saving that final version to a new Word file. Of course, then you’re back to two files on your hard drive, one with the document revisions and one without, and you’d better remember the difference so that you don’t grab the wrong one and thus cause your Great Aunt Rhodie to cut you out of her will because that first draft that you never intended for her to see was really pretty spiteful.

To wrap things up, I’d say you want to weigh the risks of forgetting to delete your versions against the document-management advantages that the feature offers. If your workgroup uses versions, you probably have no real choice in the matter. But if you’d be using versions simply for your own convenience, you might want to consider whether the current, Word 2003 implementation gives you enough advantages to make the effort worthwhile. Maybe it isn’t so bad having Word files named spork_final_last_revised.doc after all.

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