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  • Writer's pictureCristina Magalhães

Word Track Changes for Authors

Updated: Sep 4, 2023

So, you’ve received a document with some weird formatting. Part of the text is in different colours. Some sentences or words are underlined. And you’re not sure what all of that means. No problem. I'm going to explain to you everything about Word Track Changes for authors.

Identifying tracked changes in your document

Word’s Track Changes tool records all the changes that have been made to the text in question: deletions, insertions, formatting changes, etc. This way, the author can see what modifications the editor has made. All the options related to this tool can be found under the Review tab in the ribbon, in the Tracking and Changes sections.

But how to interpret what you see on the screen?

To start with, you have two main modes to view the changes: Show All Revisions Inline and Show All Revision in Balloons.

Word ribbon with the Show Markup button clicked. The Balloons option is highlighted and the submenu is showing.

Using the default options, the Show All Revisions Inline view mode will mainly show insertions and deletions. Insertions are displayed in a different colour, while deletions will be shown with a strikethrough.

Example of a deletion, in red with a strikethrough, and an insertion in green.

Now let’s switch to the other mode, Show all Revisions in Balloons, and go through some examples of modifications that can be made to a text and how they are registered.

The deletions stop being visible in the text in this mode, but you’ll see them listed in the reviewing pane on the right-hand side.

Example of a deletion listed in the reviewing pane.

If the editor has joined two separate paragraphs, it will show a pilcrow symbol in the reviewing pane.

Example of a tracked change. The pilcrow symbol means that two paragraphs were joined.

In terms of formatting changes, in the pane you’ll be able to see the details of those modifications.

Example of a tracked change. The font was changed to Agency FB.

Example of a tracked change. Bold was added, and the colour was changed to purple.

If the editor has moved a sentence, you’ll see that recorded in the pane through two entries: one indicating that the sentence was moved up or down, and the other showing where the sentence was moved to.

Example of a markup where a sentence was moved down.

Example of a markup where a sentence was moved down. It shows the place where the sentence was inserted.

If you notice, both entries include the number one, indicating that they are connected. If there are other sentences that have been moved, they will display the number two and so on.

Example of a markup where a sentence was moved up.

It shows where the sentence was inserted after being moved up.

How to show and hide the markup

All Markup menu.

Next on this tutorial about Word Track Changes for authors, I'll teach you how to show and hide the markup. For you to see what changes the editor has made, you need to have the All Markup mode on. But you might want to hide the markup for a moment. If that is the case, you can pick the Simple Markup or the No Markup modes. The first will only show vertical bars on the left-hand side where changes have been made. The second won’t show any markup at all; just the final version of the text after changes. You also have the option of seeing the original version of the text.

How to accept and reject changes

As the author, you have the final word when it comes to accepting or rejecting changes.

But how do you do that?

In the Changes section, under the Review tab, you have two buttons: Accept and Reject. If you click them, you’ll see the different options. All you have to do is put the cursor in the part of the text that has been changed and click on Accept or Reject and Move to Next or on Accept or Reject Change.

Accept button menu.

Reject button menu.

If you’re happy with everything, you can also accept all changes in one go or, on the other hand, if you don’t agree with any of the changes, it’s possible to reject all changes.

If you just want to go through all the changes without taking any action, you can click on Previous or Next.

Buttons Previous and Next.

How to deal with comments

If your editor has added comments to your text, you can view them by picking the Contextual or List mode, under Show Comments. You’ll find these options under the Review tab, in the Comments section.

Review tab, Comments section.

Show Comments menu.

You can respond to the comments by adding your answer to the text box.

At a later stage, if you consider that the problem has been solved, you can click on the three dots and choose Resolve Thread. This will close the comment and add a tick. If you reopen the comment, it will show as Resolved.

Example of a comment text box.

Comment after being resolved.

Final words

You learned how to identify the changes, how to accept and reject changes, how to show and hide the markup and how to deal with comments. Hopefully you now feel more confident using Track Changes as an author.

If you have any questions about the options described or others more advanced, leave a comment, and I’ll try to help the best I can.

Cristina Magalhães is an editor, proofreader and crochet tech editor who works with businesses, content writers and individuals.

She edits business documentation, marketing materials, LinkedIn profiles, CVs, cover letters and crochet patterns.

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