Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tips and Tricks for Office 2010: Tracking Changes with Word

These tips and tricks are for Office 2007 and higher. (This tip is supported in earlier editions, but the process has changed.) Not available in Office 2010 Starter Edition.

If you’ve never heard of Word’s track changes feature, you are definitely missing out. This cool little feature that is available in Word 2003 or higher, enables users to see changes made within a particular document and who made the changes. To turn on this feature in Word 2007 or 2010, simply navigate to the Review section of the Ribbon and select the Track Changes button. Once done, any changes made to the document from that point forward (until you disable track changes) will be shown throughout the document.

Using Track Changes in Word

There are several options that the user can choose from once enabling this feature. I’ll detail a couple of them below. Of course, as Word is a pretty large and sophisticated program, I may not be able to cover every detail of this feature. Feel free to just try it out for yourself, if you find anything interesting, let me know!


Reviewing Pane. First, I want to discuss the reviewing pane, which I find to be one of the more useful components of this feature. To enable this, simply navigate to the tracking section of the Review tab and then select the Reviewing Pane button or select from the drop-down list Vertical or Horizontal. This will allow the user to see changes done throughout the document and split up into categories, such as changes to the main section of the documents, headers and footers, footnotes, etc. If you’re going to be tracking changes within a document I highly recommend using this component of it.

Show Markup. This little dropdown box allows you to choose what changes are tracked. You can enable or disable tracking for comments, ink (for pen-enabled devices), insertions and deletions, formatting, and markup are highlight. You can also select which reviewers to show, in case more than one review edited the document.

Track Changes. Along with using this button to enable tracking changes within Word, you can also use it to select certain options. You can use the dropdown box to change tracking options and to change your current user name. Below is a screenshot of the options you can change/adjust for track changes.

Accepting and Rejecting Changes. Users can also choose whether or not they want to accept or reject a particular change. The easiest way to do this is to right click on the change, and select either Accept or Reject change.

For what it’s worth

There’s plenty more that you can use track changes for, but hopefully this will give you a brief overview of what you can do with this useful tool. This tool becomes especially useful when more than one person edits a particular document. Hopefully, you will also come to love track changes as I have and use it on a regular basis.

As always you can follow me on Twitter, @jctierney, or leave a comment below. If you have any suggestions, comments, or questions, please feel free to write them in the comment section below.


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