Track Changes and Comments in Word

Ever wonders how can you Track Changes and Comments in Word? Here is how.

Understanding Track Changes

When you turn on Track Changes, every change you make to the document will appear as a coloured markup. If you delete text, it won’t disappear—instead, the text will be crossed out. If you add text, it will be underlined. This allows you to see edits before making the changes permanent.

Note: If there are multiple reviewers, each person will be assigned a different mark-up colour.

Turn on Track Changes:

From the Review tab, click the Track Changes command.

Track Changes will be turned on. Now, any changes you make to the document will appear as coloured mark-ups.

Reviewing changes

Tracked changes are really just suggested changes. To become permanent, they must be accepted. On the other hand, the original author may disagree with some of the tracked changes and choose to reject them.

Accept or reject changes act as following:

  • Select the change you want to accept or reject.
  • From the Review tab, click the Accept or Reject command.
  • The mark-up will disappear, and Word will automatically jump to the next change. You can continue accepting or rejecting each change until you have reviewed them all.
  • When you’re finished, click the Track Changes command to turn off Track Changes.

Note: To accept all changes at once, click the Accept drop-down arrow, then select Accept All. If you no longer wish to track your changes, you can select Accept All and Stop Tracking.

Track Changes viewing options

If you have a lot of tracked changes, they may become distracting if you’re trying to read through the document. Fortunately, Word provides a few different ways to customize how tracked changes appear, including the option to hide tracked changes.

Hide tracked changes:

  • From the Review tab, click the Display for Review command. The Display for Review command is located to the right of the Track Changes command.
  • In the drop-down menu, there are four options:
    • Simple Mark-up: This shows the final version without in-line mark-ups. Red markers will appear in the left margin to indicate where a change has been made.
    • All Mark-up: This shows the final version with in-line mark-ups.
    • No Mark-up: This shows the final version and hides all mark-ups.
    • Original: This shows the original version and hides all mark-ups.
  • Select the desired option from the drop-down menu. In our example, we’ll select No Mark-up to preview the final version of the document before accepting the changes.

Note: You can also click the marker in the left margin to switch between Simple Mark-up and All Mark-up.

Hiding Track Changes is not the same as reviewing changes. You will still need to accept or reject the changes before sending out the final version of your document.

Show revisions in balloons:

By default, most revisions appear in-line, meaning the text itself is marked. You can also choose to show the revisions in balloons, which moves most revisions to the right margin. Removing in-line mark-ups can make the document easier to read, and balloons also give you more detailed information about some mark-ups.

  • From the Review tab, click Show Mark-up/Balloons/Show Revisions in Balloons.
  • Most revisions will appear in the right margin, although any added text will still appear in-line.

Note: To go back to in-line mark-ups, you can select either Show All Revisions In-line or Show Only Comments and Formatting in Balloons.

Comments

Sometimes you may want to add a comment to provide feedback instead of editing a document. While often used in combination with Track Changes, you don’t necessarily need to have Track Changes turned on to use comments.

Add comments:

  •  Highlight some text, or place the insertion point where you want the comment to appear.
  • From the Review tab, click the New Comment command.
  • Type your comment. When you’re done, you can close the comment box by pressing the Esc key or by clicking anywhere outside the comment box.

 Note: You can also respond to an existing comment. Just click the Reply button and type your response.

Delete comments:

  •  Select the comment you wish to delete.
  • From the Review tab, click the Delete command.

Note: To delete all comments, click the Delete drop-down arrow and select Delete All Comments in Document.

 Comparing documents

If you edit a document without tracking changes, it’s still possible to use reviewing features such as Accept and Reject. You can do this by comparing two versions of the document. All you need is the original document and the revised document (the documents must also have different file names).

Compare two documents:

  •  From the Review tab, click the Compare command, then select Compare from the drop-down menu.
  • A dialogue box will appear. Choose your Original document by clicking the drop-down arrow and selecting the document from the list. If the file is not in the list, click the Browse button to locate it.
  • Choose the Revised document, then click OK.
  • Word will compare the two files to determine what was changed and then create a new document. The changes will appear as coloured mark-ups, just like Track Changes. You can then use the Accept and Reject commands to finalize the document.

Note: The original and revised documents will appear in a pane to the right that you can use for reference (although you can’t edit them). If you don’t see the pane, click Compare/Show Source Documents/Show Both.

Please leave your comments below with your thoughts or alternative methods.

Nik

Experienced IT Consultant working and living in the UK. In early years he was born and raised up in Greece and been to the UK since studies. He is passionate with technology, gadgets and computers, he really likes the internet and IT in general.

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