Creating a version can be done at any moment, even when no steps have been applied yet. It allows you to freeze a preparartion in a given state, with a timestamp and a short description.
Use the Manage versions button to create a new version of your preparation, or consult previously created version in read-only mode. Each version can be individually exported.
Adding versions to your preparation is a good way to see the differences that have been made to the preparation over time, but mostly to ensure that it is always the same state of a preparation that is used in Talend Jobs, even if the preparation is still being worked on. Versions can be used in Data Integration as well as Big Data Jobs.
Preparation versions are propagated when sharing or moving a preparation across your folder structure, but not when you copy it or apply it to a new dataset.