When was the last time you got a project done on the first version? If you’ve done that, you are a wizard and we’d like to know how you did it. For the rest of us mere mortals, version control is often what will define whether a project is successful or not.

Most agencies typically include a maximum number of design iterations in their project scope to keep projects on schedule and to manage feature creep. Internal marketing teams might not be able to do this as easily given that they answer to executives who have greater authority – but version control is always top-of-mind. For project-based work, profits disappear every time they hear “can you just make this one small change?”

To properly manage feature creep and ensure accountability, ReviewStudio’s compare mode and versioning play critical roles in keeping your projects on track.

Setting up Multiple Versions of a File

All bets are in. You’ve set a deadline and collected all the feedback and annotations on your first pass on the project. It was of course simpler because it was all done collaboratively, and is consolidated centrally. By turning feedback into actionable tasks, the designers and production artists get the clarity they need to make all the required revisions.

With the new file version in hand, the next step is to upload it and associate it to the previous version. In the Review edit menu you can “upload a new version” of any existing file (as a shortcut you can upload new versions of multiple files at once using the same file name in the batch file upload menu).

By default the latest version of a file will always be the one that is shown in the Review, but reviewers can quickly access and view any previous version of the file by selecting from the version dropdown menu shown next to the file name. To maintain the integrity of the review process, previous versions are always “locked” so that no alterations or additional feedback can be made to them.

There is no limit on the number of versions you can have on a file. The record number of versions we’ve seen so far is 37, but hopefully you don’t need more than a couple to get your project delivered. It can get tricky at that stage, but we hope you’ll never get there.

Compare Versions for Feedback and Clarity

Speaking of integrity, an important task for a project manager is to confirm that the changes requested on one version of a file were properly executed by the production team.

An excellent way to facilitate this work being done properly is to use the Compare Mode feature. With multiple versions in place, tracking progress and proper execution of feedback is best done visually, and Compare Mode gives you the option to view any two versions side by side for efficient review.

To activate Compare Mode, simply select “Compare” from the main menu. Two panes will open up side by side. From the thumbnail bar, you can select any two files for comparison, and any versions of those files.

A few options are available in Compare Mode that you can select from the “Compare Options” menu in the right side pane. “Sync Navigation” will automatically play a video or turn the pages of a PDF file in both panes at the same time. Similarly, “Sync Pan and Zoom” will automatically match the view of the file so you can compare in more detail. If you see problems, you can leave new feedback on the latest version of the file.

While Compare Mode is especially useful for tracking version revisions of the same file, it can also be useful to compare two totally different files in the Review as design options for consideration.

Transparency and Accountability

Versions provide the full record of your project development. By consolidating all the file versions and their associated feedback and tasks in one place, you not only expedite the design process, but deliver better creative. Ensuring full transparency on the decisions and actions taken by all the stakeholders makes for a more collaborative, consistent and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

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