Workspaces in Google Tag Manager are ideal when you have a team working on containers and you want to experiment with your own ideas without ruining a teammate’s work. Previously, it was only possible to create a single version of containers, and any changes you made took place immediately. With workspaces, you can make sets of changes to the container and test configurations before implementing them.
Container Drafts Explained
With workspaces, you create a container draft that is separate from your latest container version. You can edit, preview, and debug the container draft without impacting other containers. Google recommends using workspaces for minor changes to keep updates simple.
To include a new workspace in your container, you need to convert it from a draft into a version. When you do this, all your other workspaces will receive a notification that the container version has changed. This will allow you to synchronize these other workspaces — necessary if you want to turn them into versions.
Managing Your Workspaces
To get started, the first thing you need to do is create a new workspace. Under “Overview,” there are three places labeled “Manage Workspaces.” Any of these options will open a new screen where clicking the “+” button creates a new workspace. If you are using a free version of GTM, you can have up to three active workspaces at once. If you are a Tag Manager 360 customer, you have an unlimited amount.Give your workspace a name and description — it is especially important to think about naming criteria if you want more than three. A new workspace will be created using the latest GTM container version rather than any workspace draft you had active or any published version that is different from the latest version.
On the “Manage Workspaces” screen, you can switch to work on a different workspace. You can also remove a workspace by clicking the info icon and selecting “Delete.”
You can allow multiple users to access a workspace with different permissions. These vary slightly from what you may be used to in GTM. “View” gives read-only access, “Edit” is limited to creating and editing workspaces (users with this permission are unable to create versions or publish workspaces), “Approve" only enables the user to create versions, and “Publish” offers full capabilities.
The biggest challenge of workspaces is managing changes. Every time you create a new version, a workspace could become out of date. To avoid conflicts, you will need to update workspaces to match the current version. Conflicts can occur in tags, triggers, variables, and other places.
You will receive a list of conflicts on the Workspace Overview page with a “Conflict found” notification. You can decide if you want to resolve them. It is possible to resolve conflicts while you are still editing the workspace, but it is essential if you want to use the workspace to create a version.
A color code explains the nature of the conflict. Blue means there has been a modification between the latest synced version and the current workspace. Red means there is something new in the latest synced version that is absent from the workspace. Green means there is something in the workspace that is absent from the synced version.
You can look at each conflict in turn to decide whether to ignore the change or copy the change. If you choose “Resolve All,” GTM will ignore all changes. Only once you have finished the process can you save the entity.
Changes are never permanent in workspaces. You can always “Abandon Changes” to revert to the original settings. By viewing changes, you can analyze each change you have made to decide which to keep and which to abandon.
Publishing Your Workspace
Turn your workspace from a container draft into a container version by clicking the “Publish” button. A new window will appear where you can set a version name and description (if you want to change the ones you have for your workspace), choose an environment, view or abandon changes for the last time, and check the activity history for the workspace.
Workspaces are an excellent tool for trying and developing new ideas for versions without publishing immediately. As a workspace needs to sync to the current version before you publish, it may become complex to manage a large number. Many users actually find the limit of three to be beneficial.