Microsoft Word has a function called Track Changes that is helpful for collaborative projects and editing. I use it often for both writing and editing projects with my clients. I find it makes our work together a lot more engaging. If a client has a question or wishes to suggest changes on a document, then that can be done through using Track Changes. While I’ve been using it for many years within different contexts, I know that there are some people who are unfamiliar with using this function. However, that should not stop them from being a part of the collaborative experience that Track Changes yields. Here are step by step instructions for using three major features of Track Changes: 1) reviewing Track Changes, 2) inserting Track Changes, and 3) Comments.
Reviewing Track Changes
1) At the top menu, click on “Review.”
2) Click on “Reviewing Pane.” Depending on how you want to review your feedback, choose between “Reviewing Pane Horizontal…” or “Reviewing Pane Vertical…”. This step will allow you to see all the changes that have been suggested on your document and also save you time from scrolling through the entire document to look for the suggested changes. Reviewing your Track Changes through this selection is also helpful when there is a suggested change that is less visible such as a comma or period insertion.
As you can see, I have selected “Reviewing Pane Vertical…” to review the changes. Neither option is better than the other. I choose this option merely as my own personal preference.
3) You will now see the changes in the reviewing pane.
4) Click on the item of your choice in the pane. You will be directed to this change in the document.
5) Right click on the suggested change. You will be given the option to either accept or reject the suggested change.
If you have reviewed all the suggested changes in the reviewing pane, and you would like to accept them all, then refer to the top menu and click on “Accept.” You will be provided with the following options:
Select the option of your choice. When you select the option to “Select All Changes and Stop Tracking,” you will be able to type in your document without creating new Track Changes. The same procedure can be applied to rejecting track changes.
Once you have gone through all the items on the reviewing pane, your document will be clear of Track Changes.
Inserting Track Changes
1) Refer to the top menu and click on “Track Changes.” Select “Track Changes” in the drop down menu.
Now you can insert Track Changes into the document as you wish. Do not worry about the “Lock Tracking” option unless you want you prevent other users from disabling the Track Changes function.
2) To stop Track Changes from appearing on your screen as you type, click on “Track Changes “again in the drop down menu.
There are three ways to use comments with Track Changes: a) “Reply to Comment, ” b) “Add Comment, “and
c) “Delete Comment.”
a) Reply to Comments
1) Right click on the comment and select “Reply to Comment.”
Once you start typing your comment, the name that you have registered with Microsoft Word will appear. This factor is especially helpful if there are multiple contributors involved in the document or if you have a question about the feedback you received.
b) Add Comments
1) Highlight the area of content where you would like to insert a comment.
2) Refer to the top menu under “Review” and click on New Comment.
A blank comment bubble will appear. Click on the bubble to write the contents of your comment
c) Delete Comments
1) Right click on the comment and select “Delete Comment.”
Overall, using track changes correctly makes your working relationship a lot smoother and also leads to submitting a clean document. I hope these step by step instructions have helped you. Feel free to comment below if you have any questions or anything to add about using Track Changes.