What is the difference between "file version" and "file revision" history? Is there any difference?

Meaning the previous file versions/revisions before some changes were made.Each file can have several versions/revisions and if needed one of them can be restored.

Which word is better in this context: version or revision?

  • Are you referring to a particular file or content management system? Terminology is inconsistent, so the documentation for that system should be the first place to check. What revision or version means in a particular piece of software has no relation to how you might use those words in general conversation. – choster Feb 14 '18 at 21:53

As I understand it, a file version is either the original copy or one with significant changes, whilst a revision is a version with minor edits applied.


A new version of a file is one where changes have been made and the file saved with a new name or on a different path. For example c:\fred.docx could be changed and might be saved as c:\fred2.docx or c:\20180214\fred.docx. Either of these new files would be a different version since the original c:\fred.docx is still available in its unchanged form. If the file is changed and saved with the same name and path the original information is lost completely unless the application being used supports revision history.

If, on the other hand, the application you are using supports version history without saving multiple copies of the file and the file is saved with the same name and path there is only one copy of the file, but you can see what changes were made and by whom.

This is complicated by the fact that some applications, MS SharePoint and OneDrive for example, save multiple versions but manage the different copies as a version history which could look like a revision history to some people.

In answer to your question the term to be used would depend on how the revisions or versions were managed or, possibly, on the term used by the application.


A version ("a form of something that is different from other forms or from the original") can consist of several revisions ("a change, improvement, or addition that someone makes to something").

For example, in Git, a version that is ultimately pushed for release may be arrived at by several revisions (commits). (All of which can be squashed into an single encompassing revision...)

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