bobbie smith

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

How to Manage Document Version Control During Communications Campaigns


You've spent all this time working to get your communications right--whether you're the client, the manager, or the communications officer--and suddenly you see an 'older' version when the director sends out his/her message or it shows up on the corporate website. Then you swear out loud and realize that the reason you're seeing one of the changes from several versions ago is because someone made a boo-boo and pulled up the wrong non-final version.

This is going to happen.

In Communications work, we see a lot of versions of numerous documents via email, especially, causing challenges for version control. For these very situations, I purposefully have the following file naming convention so people know they have the latest version. 

I "time-stamp" them. That means when I did my 'save-as', I captured the date and time in the document's file name. I do it ever time. Always. And it has consistently saved my bacon. Also, by doing it this way, the versions line up very nicely in Windows Explorer!

Here's my format + an example:
YYYY MM-Month DD 00h00 Filename.doc 
2012 06-Jun 07 10h06 Memo to All Employees.doc

Legend: 
YYYY = Year, i.e. 2011, 2012 
MM = digits to identify month, i.e. 01 for January, 02 for February, etc….
Month = the month listed as a word, i.e. Jan for January, Feb for February
DD = digits to identify date, i.e. 07 is the 7th day of the month 
00h00 is the time listed using the 24-hour clock, so 09h30 is 9:30am and 21h30 is 9:30pm 
Filename = a name that describes what's in your document, i.e. From Directors to All Employees.

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