7. Tracking Changes

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Learn how to make edits to another author’s document while tracking changes. This makes the edits standout and gives the author the choice to accept or reject the changes.


Lesson Goal

Learn how to interact with suggestions made by collaborators.

What are tracked changes?

It’s often important to get your colleagues’ input on a document you’ve just written. But it’s problematic if you can’t clearly see the changes they’ve made. If they reword sections, you can’t compare their wording to your own and it can be hard to tell if any text has been deleted.

This makes it hard as a learning experience because it makes it harder to learn from your mistakes. It can also be troubling if some of the suggestions are wrong.

We can help this by clicking the Track Changes command in the Review tab. With this enabled, any change made to the text is recorded. New text is underlined and removed text has a line through it.

As with comments, suggestions from different collaborators use a different text color which is unique to that person.

Handling tracked changes

As with comments, the markup settings affect how we view tracked changes. With No Markup selected, all suggestions are hidden.

With Simple Markup, the suggestions are minimized. Any line of text with a suggestion contains a vertical line to the right of the document. This line will match the color of the suggested text. If we click any of these lines, the suggestions will appear within the document. Clicking any of them again will minimize them again.

With All Markup, all suggestions are always visible.

Choosing whether to accept or reject suggestions is very straightforward. We simply need to right-click a suggestion and click Accept or Reject.


In the previous lesson, we learned how to share documents with collaborators. In this lesson, we'll learn how to interact with suggestions made by collaborators. The document may look unchanged from the previous lesson. However, some of our colleagues have made a few changes. They'd like us to have the final say, so they're comfortable with letting us reject some of their changes.

The document is currently set to No Markup, which makes the changes hard to spot.

As with comments, we can adjust the markup settings to change the extent of detail.

We'll start by switching from No Markup to Simple Markup.

We can now see some marks along the side of the page.

These correspond to lines of text that include a suggestion. If we click on one of these marks, we'll reveal the change in more detail.

In this first suggestion, we can see some underlined red text.

The underline indicates that this text was suggested by another user. If we scroll down to the next edit, we can see that there is some text with a line straight through the middle.

This is text that the suggestion replaced.

This is useful because it allows us to evaluate the change to see if it was appropriate.

Let's click on one of the marks again to collapse the Markup pane.

Simple Markup is useful when we want to be aware of changes but we don't want to be distracted by them.

Note that we can hide and remove comments from the Simple Markup view by clicking the Show Comments command.

It's easier to review all of the changes when we can see everything.

We can do this by enabling All Markup.

Making new suggestions is also easiest with All Markup selected.

We can initiate suggestions by clicking the Track Changes command.

With Track Changes enabled, any changes we make to the text will be logged as a suggestion.

For example, let's change a section header from Introduction to Start.

The new text we typed is colored and underlined, and the original text has a line through it.

If we click the Track Changes command again, we can go back to making regular edits to the document.

However, the change to the section header is still tracked as a suggestion.

We're still in All Markup, so we're ready to review the suggestions in this document.

We'll start with the first suggestion in the document, which is the one we just made.

To select this suggestion, we'll click the Previous command in the Changes group twice.

Now we can make a judgment.

The original was clearly better, so we'll click Reject twice to undo the deletion and the selected replacement.

With that suggestion resolved, the next comment has been automatically selected.

We'll click Next twice to move on to the next suggestion.

In this case, the reviewer suggested we use the term kilocalorie instead of calorie.

This is correct, so we'll accept it.

There are a few more suggestions, but we don't need to view them one at a time.

If we click the Reviewing Pane command, a pane appears to the left of the document that presents all of the suggestions.

The remaining changes look acceptable, so we'll click the dropdown arrow beneath the Accept command and choose Accept All Changes.

We'll finish this lesson by switching to No Markup.

Understanding how to make and respond to suggestions with Track Changes is a critical skill for anyone collaborating on a Word document.

Mastering this will make the reviewing process quicker and easier for all involved.

Reviewing & Sharing


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