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Using Track Changes
Using Track Changes in Word allows you to do electronically what you used to do manually. No more red marks on a printed document; no more circled text with arrows indicating moves.
Track Changes is composed of two parts. The first is viewing edits in a document as you make changes and the second is comparing two documents, frequently called “redlining.”
Track Changes Options
Double-clicking the TRK button on the status bar or selecting Tools > Track Changes > Highlight Changes will access Track Changes. You may also access this by turning on the Reviewing toolbar.
To set the options you want for revisions, select Tools > Options > Track Changes tab.
Type of Edit
The default is an underline. You may change this to Bold, Italics or double underline. A specific color may be chosen. The default, “By Author” marks the first eight reviewer’s comments with different colors. Selecting “Auto ” or a specific color, marks all inserted text in that color.
The deleted text default is Strikethrough. You may select Hidden. Then deleted text can be shown or hidden with the Show/Hide button on the Standard toolbar. If you do not want the deleted text to appear on the screen, you may select the ^ or # symbol.
The default is none. If you want to show the differences in formatting, select bold, italic, underline, or double-underline formatting. This will not pick up the difference in font color if it is changed.
The default is outside border. Every paragraph that has a change shows a revision mark next to that paragraph. These marks can be shown on the left, right, or outside borders.
Practice: Set Options and Track Changes
- Open a document for editing.
- Double click TRK in the Status bar.
- Select Tools > Options > Track changes, and select the options of your choice and click OK.
- Delete some text.
- Add some text.
- Change the formatting of a word or paragraph.
- Pause the cursor over the changes in the document to see when and by whom they were made.
- Save the document.
Viewing Tracked Changes
When you receive a document with changes, you have several options for viewing the changes and accepting or rejecting them.
To access these options, turn on the Reviewing toolbar by alternate-clicking any toolbar and selecting Reviewing.
Pause the cursor over any marked change and a ScreenTip appears.
If you do not see the tip, make sure that they are activated by clicking Tools > Options > View tab > Screen Tips.
You can view the original document (before the changes were made) by clicking Tools > Track changes > Accept or Reject Changes > Original.
Reviewing Marked Changes
To review the changes in a document, click Next Change or Previous Change on the Reviewing toolbar. As each change is selected, click Accept or Reject.
If you prefer to accept or reject all changes, select Tools > Track Changes > Accept or Reject Changes. Select the appropriate choice. You will receive a message asking whether you want to accept/reject all remaining changes without reviewing them. If you select No, you will continue reviewing the changes one at a time.
If you do not want your changes marked, turn Track Changes off by double-clicking the TRK on the Status bar. If you cannot turn it off, the document has been protected with a password.
To assure that all reviewers have their changes tracked, protect and add a password to the document.
Protecting a Document for Tracked Changes
- Open a document you want to protect.
- Select Tools > Protect Document.
- Select Tracked Changes, type a password that you are sure to remember in the Password box, and click OK.
- Confirm the password by typing it in the Confirm Password dialog box.
- Click OK.
Trouble Shooting Track Changes
Why is Track Changes on when I just opened a document to edit?
It had been turned on when the document was last closed. To turn it off, double-click TRK on the Status bar. If this does not turn it off, there is probably a password attached and it is protected.
Four people have edited the document. How can I tell who did which edits?
Pause the cursor over the edit and it will show you the author, date, and time of the edit. Each new editor (up to 8 people) gets a new color, so once you find out which person goes with which edit color, you can quickly tell who edited what.