Version Control, Old-School

Before we had file management systems that took charge of version management, we kept the dead files from getting into print by stamping their pages DEAD.

If you’re like most people, you’re still using some manual type of version control such as changing the file name, instead of version control in project management software you might still be using (like Sharepoint). But who among us hasn’t made changes to the dead file by mistake when both the live and dead files were up on screen?

One easy way to avoid working in the wrong file is to change the background colour of the dead file. That visual cue keeps me from editing the dead file.

dead copy on left with coloured background, beside white live file

On the right side of the Design ribbon, click the Page Color icon and select peach, or blue, or any colour you can still read text on.

design ribbon
Way over on the right side of the Design tab on the ribbon, you’ll find Page Color. Your ribbon may be longer and show more options rather than nesting them.


  • Page colour only displays in Print Layout view. Change that on the View ribbon or from the icon along the bottom edge of the window.
  • Change the text colour instead, if you like working in draft view, where background/page colour doesn’t display.
book cover cropped to banner size
Find out more about Best Practices for filing starting on p. 41 of the book.

cover of editing in word 2016 2nd edition
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