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Lesson 2: Keeping Track of Changes Made to a Document

Now that you’ve setup the template for your document in Lesson 1, and the first draft of your document has been written, it’s editing time. If you have multiple people collaborating on the document, you can use the Track Changes feature in Word to know what changes were made and who made them.

When you change a document with “Track Changes” turned on, every change you make to the document displays as a colored markup, each reviewer being assigned a different color.

Deleted text doesn’t disappear – it’s crossed out and added text displays underlined. This allows you to view all the changes in the document before making them permanent and choose to accept or reject each change. We will show you how to accept and reject changes later in this lesson.

In this lesson, we will show you how to turn on the “Track Changes” feature and use the different views. To make sure other reviewers track their changes, you can lock the “Track Changes” feature on. Once all changes have been made, each change must be reviewed. We will show you how to accept and reject changes. Customize the “Track Changes” feature using the many options available.

Turn on Track Changes

To turn on “Track Changes”, click the Review tab and click “Track Changes.”

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When “Track Changes” is on, the button displays with a blue background.

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Now, any changes you make to the document will display as colored markups.

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Change the Markup View and Hide Tracked Changes

When you turn on “Track Changes,” there are different ways to view the markup. The “All Markup” view displays all the actual revisions in your document, as shown above. This is the default view for documents opened with “Track Changes” on. However, if you have a lot of revisions in the document, it may get confusing to read it with all the revisions showing.

To improve readability of your document, you can use the “Simple Markup” view, which hides complex markups. Notice that each change is marked by a vertical bar to the left of the text. Click this bar to switch from “All Markup” view to “Simple Markup” view.

NOTE: Switching markup views affects all the tracked changes in the document, not just the one where you clicked the vertical bar.

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The “Simple Markup” view hides the tracked changes in the text and collapses comments (discussed in Lesson 3) into small balloons, and the vertical bars indicating tracked changes display in red. Click the bar again to switch to the “All Markup” view and see all the inline tracked changes.

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You can also change markup views using the “Display for Review” drop-down menu in the “Tracking” section of the “Review” tab.

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In addition to the “Simple Markup” and “All Markup” views, you can also choose “No Markup” to view the final version of the document, as if all the tracked changes were accepted (we will discuss accepting and rejecting changes later in this lesson) or “Original” to view the original version of the document. The “No Markup” and “Original” options both hide the inline markup.

NOTE: The “No Markup” and “Original” options also help when printing a document that has marked up changes in it. If you hide the tracked changes, they won’t print.

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Show Revisions in Balloons Rather than Inline

By default, most revisions display inline, with the text itself being marked up. However, you can choose to show the revisions in balloons, which moves most revisions into the right margin. This can make the document easier to read and the balloons provide more detailed information about some markups.

To show revisions in balloons, click the “Review” tab and then click “Show Markup” in the “Tracking” section. Select “Balloons” and then “Show Revisions in Balloons” from the drop-down menu.

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Most revisions display in the “Markup Area” in the right margin. However, any added text still displays inline.

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To view the markups inline again, select Balloons from the “Show Markup” drop-down menu again and then select either “Show All Revisions Inline” or “Show Only Comments and Formatting in Balloons.”

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NOTE: Hiding the tracked changes does not get rid of them. You must accept or reject each change to remove them completely before distributing your final document. We will discuss accepting and rejecting changes a little later in this lesson.

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Lori Kaufman is a freelance technical writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.

  • Published 03/18/14

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