#1517: Localterations

When editing a document, I often make changes to a large number of different sections in rapid succession.

Then I may realise that one of the sections modified was actually better in an earlier incarnation, or contained useful information, now deleted.

Choosing a global ‘undo’ option doesn’t help, so today’s invention is a tool which allows me to highlight a region of the document and click back in time locally to reveal the full sequence of historical updates.


  1. A similar invention is the undo trees found in emacs and probably some other text editors, where you can undo a change from long ago while leaving future changes intact.

    You say that global undo doesn’t help, but you actually can use that to recover the work, although it is more cumbersome than your solution. Just undo repeatedly until you pass the changes you want to undo, select all, copy, redo back to the present, paste into a separate document, and then copy and paste the relevant section from the old version where it belongs.

    • Yes, agreed Rory. I just like the idea of being able to dig conveniently into the local history of a text. I also fancy storing all the changes made during its development, so that future scholars can do the textual archaeology. emacs isn’t a tool I could ever imagine using, since it has a user interface which seems to be like the peacock’s tail ie “look what I can achieve, despite this crazy unwieldy thing I have to work with.” Some of these tools are strictly for techies eg Latex (barf).

      There is another issue here, though, to do with cutting and pasting. If I paste a big section into a doc and then highlight a region which overlaps this area and some background, as I click back in time, do I see the pasted-in bit’s history or the pasted-over area’s history? Maybe it could be an option.

Comments are closed