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Microsoft Word 2010 : Collaborating with Others - Tracking Changes

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11/24/2013 8:09:14 PM

Normally, when you edit a document, your changes flow right into the text. When you delete something, it disappears. When you insert text, it goes where you put it. When you format something, it looks different.

But turn on the Track Changes feature, and Word handles your changes in a different way:

  • When you delete text, Word draws a line through the text and changes its color but doesn’t actually remove the text from the document.

  • When you insert new text, Word underlines it and makes it a different color.

  • When you move text, Word draws a double line through the text in its original position and draws a double underline under the text in its new position. In both places, Word changes the text’s color.

  • When you make a formatting change, Word marks the change with a comment balloon.

Like comments, Track Changes is a great collaboration tool because it lets you edit someone else’s document without truly changing the original. You can think of Track Changes as a way to highlight proposed changes and show where they would go.

Many old-school Word users, like me, still use the term “revision marks” when referring to Track Changes.


When the document’s creator views your proposed changes, he can accept or reject them individually or all at the same time. If the creator accepts a change, Word implements it just as you set it up. If the creator rejects a change, Word removes it and leaves the original version intact.

Tracking the Changes You Make to a Document

To activate the Track Changes feature, go to the Review tab and click Track Changes. (If a drop-down menu opens, click the Track Changes option.) Word begins marking every proposed change you make.

Enter, delete, format, and move text in the document. Make any changes you want. Word highlights each change in a different way, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Track Changes highlights every change made to a document.

To stop tracking changes, click the Track Changes button again (or click the Track Changes option from the drop-down menu). Your proposed changes remain highlighted, but future changes are made in the normal manner.

Be sure to save the document before closing it, especially if you’re going to give it back to the person who created it.

If Track Changes is active when you close a document, it will be active the next time you open that document. Word remembers whether Track Changes is active on a document-by-document basis, so you don’t have to turn it on or off every time you start Word.

Accepting and Rejecting a Reviewer’s Revisions

If someone else edits your document with Track Changes turned on, you can decide whether to accept or reject those changes. Open the document and go to the Review tab; then do any or all of the following, as needed:

  • Click the Next and Previous buttons (in the Changes group) to move from one change to another. When Word comes to a tracked change, it highlights the text.

  • To accept one or more changes, click the Accept drop-down arrow; then do the following:

    • To accept the current change and jump to the next one, click Accept And Move to Next.

    • To accept the current change and stay where you are, click Accept Change.

    • To accept all the changes in the document at the same time, click Accept All Changes In Document.

  • To reject one or more changes, click the Reject drop-down arrow; then do the following:

    • To reject the current change and jump to the next one, click Reject and Move to Next.

    • To reject the current change and stay where you are, click Reject Change.

    • To reject all the changes in the document at the same time, click Reject All Changes in Document.

When you finish accepting and rejecting changes, turn off Track Changes unless you want Word to highlight any additional edits you make to the document.

 
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