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How to Undo Changes in WordPress with Post Revisions

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Elegant Themes
How to Undo Changes in WordPress with Post Revisions

WordPress has built-in capability which allows you to undo changes and go back to an earlier version of a post. This feature is called Post Revisions or simply Revisions. When writing articles, most of us make mistakes. Sometimes you even wish that you hadn’t deleted what you wrote earlier. Revisions allow you to go back in time and undo any changes. In this article, we will show you how to undo changes in WordPress with post revisions.

For the text version keep reading below.

What is Post Revisions?

WordPress has a built-in system that stores a post as a revision on each auto save or when a user saves a post. The autosave feature in the WordPress post editor saves a post every 60 seconds as a special revision. Old auto saves are then replaced by new auto saved revisions. Each time a user clicks on the save, update, or publish button, a new revision is stored in your database.

You can see these revisions on your post edit screen or by browsing the revisions. Since WordPress 3.6, there is a new more intuitive way to browse your revisions that allows you to see the changes made in each revision and who made those changes. You can also browse through different revisions and revert back to any one of them if you want.

Will it delete my current revision? No, it will not delete your current version. Instead, your current version will be saved as another revision and you can revert back to it just like you reverted back to an earlier revision.

Why You Should Use Post Revisions

Almost every WordPress user can benefit from post revisions. Writing great content requires a lot of tweaking and re-writing. Post revisions allow you to see your process and take a bird’s eye view of how your post has evolved. You can then switch between different states of your draft, make changes, and make your article perfect for publishing.

For multi-author WordPress sites, post revisions allow editors to manage teams to work on a story or article at the same time. You can see who made changes to an article, what changes they made, and so on. Combine post revisions with Edit Flow and you got yourself a robust editorial platform.

How to use Post Revisions to Undo Changes in WordPress

WordPress displays the number of revisions for each post in the publish meta box on the post/page edit screen. Clicking on browse will take you to post revisions screen.

Revisions are displayed in publish meta box on WordPress post edit screen

You can also display revisions below post edit area by clicking on Screen Options and checking Revisions.

Displaying revisions in post edit area of WordPress admin

The post revision screen will you the latest revision of the post with scrollbar on top. Sliding the button on the scroll bar will take you to different revisions of your post. Changes made in each revision will be highlighted in green and pink colors. On the top you can see the user who made these changes, time, and other information. WordPress will also let you know if a revision is an autosave or a draft.

Post revisions screen in WordPress

You can also use next and previous buttons to move around revisions or check the box on top that says compare any two revisions. This will split the button scroll bar into two and you can take each button to a different revision and compare the difference between two distant revisions.

Comparing any two revisions in WordPress

To restore a revision simply click on Restore This Revision or Restore This Autosave button. WordPress will restore the selected revision as your current post revision and you can then save it as a draft.

Notification displayed after restoring a post from revision in WordPress

It is also possible for you to limit post revisions or even completely disable post revisions. However, we would strongly recommend against that because post revisions come in very handy in many situations. If you want you can delete old post revisions which you are sure that you will not need any more.

We hope that this article helped you understand how to use post revisions to undo changes in WordPress. Have you ever used post revisions? Let us know by leaving a comment below. Also don’t forget to subscribe to our Youtube Channel.


Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress lovers led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.

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  • Charlie Sasser

    I always knew this was there but never really used. Thanks for bring this up.

    What is the impact and performance hit on the database? Is there a build in way or a good plugin that will selectively flush the old versions for the database?

    • http://www.wpbeginner.com/ WPBeginner Support

      impact on database is not that significant unless you have many authors working on multiple posts at any given time. You can easily delete old post revisions.

  • Ralph Ferro Jr., Esq

    This is a very practical and great instructional article – wish you had more of these which is geared for the novice. e.g. when doing testimonials – it is cutting off and not allowing two pages – how can this be fixed?

    how do you change your menu to have a button look using an object to insert in your page descriptions rather than plain test.

    this was written well and very easy to follow – some are written for programmers…