Is version control (ie. Subversion) applicable in document tracking?


I am in charge of about 100+ documents (word document, not source code) that needs revision by different people in my department. Currently all the documents are in a shared folder where they will retrieve, revise and save back into the folder.

What I am doing now is looking up the "date modified" in the shared folder, opened up recent modified documents and use the "Track Change" function in MS Word to apply the changes. I find this a bit tedious.

So will it be better and easier if I commit this in a version control database?

Basically I want to keep different version of a file.

What have I learn from answers:

  • Use Time Machine to save different
    version (or Shadow copy in Vista)

  • There is a difference between text
    and binary documents when you use
    version control app. (I didn't know

  • Diff won't work on binary files

  • A notification system (ie email) for revision is great

  • Google Docs revision feature.

Update :

I played around with Google Docs revision feature and feel that it is almost right for me. Just a bit annoyed with the too frequent versioning (autosaving).

But what feels right for me doesn't mean it feels right for my dept. Will they be okay with saving all these documents with Google?

Best Solution

I've worked with Word documents in SVN. With TortoiseSVN, you can easily diff Word documents (between working copy and repository, or between two repository revisions). It's really slick and definitely recommended.

The other thing to do if you're using Word documents in SVN is to add the svn:needs-lock property to the Word documents. This will prevent two people from trying to edit the same document at the same time, since unfortunately there's no good way to merge Word documents.

With the above two things, handling revision controlled Word documents is at least tolerable. It certainly beats the alternative of using a shared folder and track-changes.