How to Use Track Changes With Multiple Editors

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Microsoft Word's Track Changes feature allows a user or multiple users to see changes made to a document, including inserted and deleted text and changes to formatting. This is a useful tool that you can turn on and off as you please. If you create the document, be sure to give other users clear directions on how to turn Track Changes on and off.

  • Make final changes to your document. Do this before turning on Track Changes for stylistic edits like grammar and spelling. Other editors won't need to view these changes.

  • Turn on Track Changes when your document is ready for more comprehensive editing. Go to the Tools menu and click "Track Changes." Changes you make to the document will appear in a bright color; other editors' comments will appear in their own distinctive colors.

  • Give clear instructions for each editor. For comments that are not insertions to the text, you may choose to insert a comment (in the Insert menu) or set the text off in brackets. If some comments should be addressed by one editor and not another, set them off in a certain way, like: [EDITOR1: Please confirm the contact information in this section.]

  • Add the reviewing pane. You'll want to include this toolbar if it's not already active so you can make changes permanent. Click the View menu, scroll to Toolbars, and click "Reviewing." The reviewing pane will appear with "accept" and "reject" buttons, plus some other options.

  • Review comments and queries. Before accepting or rejecting changes, be sure all queries are addressed. Remove any comments that aren't direct changes to text.

  • Accept or reject changes. Read through all the changes, reject any you don't want to keep, and accept all changes at the end. Or you may accept and reject as you go. To accept or reject a change, click the "accept" or "reject" button on the reviewing pane. To accept all, click the pull-down arrow next to the accept button and click "Accept all changes in document."

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not have editors save separate copies of the document. Because you're using Track Changes, all editors can make changes to the same document.
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