Inside our SharePoint Online tenant we want to free some space, and inside our document libraries we have set to keep that latest 500 versions, as follow:

enter image description here

Now if we set the number of versions to be 100 instead of 500, will this affect existing documents as well as new documents?

So let say we have a document which contain 180 versions, then after changing the number of versions that is kept from 500 to 100, will this document get its oldest 80 versions automatically removed?

  • 1
    Yes, your understandings related to this are correct. Dec 14, 2022 at 6:48
  • @GaneshSanap thanks , but your answer contradicts with what i get from Microsoft @ learn.microsoft.com/en-us/answers/questions/1128043/…
    – John John
    Dec 14, 2022 at 11:22
  • I have seen similar question and answer on one of threads where it was mentioned by another user that older versions will be removed. Let me test it myself and get back to you! Dec 14, 2022 at 12:04
  • I have tested this myself. Check the test results below in my answer. Thanks for correcting mistake in my above comment (assumption based on answers on other threads). Dec 14, 2022 at 12:26

1 Answer 1


I just tested this scenario in our SharePoint online tenant. Initially I had these versioning settings with 500 version limit.

enter image description here

I then created a new word document in library with 4 major versions:

enter image description here

Then I changed versioning settings to limit the number of versions to 2:

enter image description here

After changing versioning limit, I checked the version history of the document and it was still having 4 major versions. Changing major version limit did not delete the older versions of the document.

Then I opened the same document, edited it to create a new version. After edit, it removed all older versions and kept latest 3 major versions (one current version and 2 older versions maybe). Here is the updated version history:

enter image description here

Conclusion: I think as per the link you provided in above comments and this article,

Until we create a new document or edit the existing document, those versioning limits will not be applicable. The new limit will not affect the existing old versions. We need to Delete them explicitly.

You can follow 2nd link to delete the older versions by using PowerShell - You can either delete older versions or simply update the document properties (like Title column or any other column in library) to force the new versioning limit.

  • which SP version you are using? as in SP online you can not set version number less than 100!!. also it might need some time for background jobs to run to remove older versions.. i should not expect the older version to be removed immediately
    – John John
    Dec 14, 2022 at 12:39
  • I am using SharePoint online and I can set version limit less than 100. I also thought about versions not deleting immediately. I am already testing this scenario by creating more version and changing version limit. I will update this thread after some time. Dec 14, 2022 at 12:46
  • I waited for 4-5 days and results are same: Changing major version limit did not delete the older versions of the document. Versioning limits will be applied only when we create a new document or edit the existing document in library. Dec 19, 2022 at 9:46
  • Hi @johnGu, does this answer help you in any way? If yes, Please Upvote(^) and accept as an Answer as it helped you & it will help others with similar question in future to find the correct answer easily. It also removes this question from "Unanswered questions" list. Jan 11 at 13:30

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