How to Do Red Lines in a Word Document

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You don't have to print pages and pull out your red pencil to edit or collaborate on a Microsoft Word document. The application's Track Changes functions approximate pencil-and-paper red lines -- although not necessarily in red -- so others can see both the original and any changes, accept or reject changes, and compare changes from different document collaborators.

  • Click the "Review" tab.

  • Click "Track Changes" in the Tracking group.

  • Choose a display mode: "Final: Show Markup," "Original: Show Markup," "Final" or "Original." "Final" is the least distracting mode for editing, but one of the modes that show markups is more useful for viewing the changes while you red-line, though they may take some getting used to.

  • Choose which collaborators' revisions to display using the "Show Markup" drop-down menu.

  • Adjust the page-view mode in the "View" tab: Draft mode shows traditional red-lining: deleted words struck out with a colored line; inserted words in colored text and underlined. Print Layout displays changes in balloons in the margin.

  • Make changes to the file as you normally would.

  • Pass the document along to others. Any changes they make will appear in different colors. Anyone can accept or reject anyone else's changes.

Tips & Warnings

  • To permanently accept a change, highlight it and click "Accept" in the Reviewing tab. To reject a change, highlight it and click "Reject."
  • Change the color of red lines as well as other Track Changes settings by clicking the drop-down menu under the Track Changes button and choosing "Change Tracking Options."
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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