Pure Text
Editing

How to Use Track Changes

What Is Track Changes?

Microsoft Word's Track Changes is a tool that allows one person to insert corrections (called "changes") and another person to "accept" or "reject" these. OpenOffice, a free alternative to Word, has a compatible tool. Click here to download OpenOffice.

Table of Contents

Microsoft Word
How to Accept/Reject Changes
How to See All the Changes Applied
Have You Overlooked Any Small Changes?
Can You See the Comments?
Common Problems

OpenOffice
How to Accept/Reject Changes
How to See All the Changes Applied
Can You See the Comments?
Common Problems

Microsoft Word

This tutorial is geared toward 2007-2016 versions of Word. If your version is different, or if you're having trouble, search online for "Track Changes Word [Version Year]" and you should get helpful results.

How to Accept/Reject Changes

You can accept/reject the changes in a few ways. While these two tend to be easy, you can read on to discover other methods.

Option 1

Under the Review tab (in the Changes box) click either Accept or Reject.

Option 2

Right-click on an individual edit and either Accept Change or Reject Change.

Time-Saving Tip

Go through and reject the edits you don't want. At the end, accept the wanted changes in one swoop by clicking Accept and then Accept All Changes in Document (see image under Option 1 above).

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How to See All the Changes Applied

Seeing how the document would look if all the changes were applied is helpful when dealing with convoluted markup. There are a few ways to see all the changes applied. One of them is to click on Show Markup (in the Tracking box) and then uncheck Insertions and Deletions. Now you can toggle between hiding or "applying" the changes, and showing the messy markup.

Don't worry: Seeing all the changes applied doesn't mean the changes have actually been applied. You have to accept or reject the changes for that to happen.


Flip to landscape for a better view.
Remember to flip back.

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Have You Overlooked Any Small Changes?

Little changes can make quite a difference (such as the addition of a missing period), but they can be easily overlooked. To ensure no changes are missed:

Option 1

In the Tracking box under the Review tab, click Reviewing Pane. Look for any remaining changes in the pane that appears (e.g., anything that says "Inserted" or "Deleted"). You'll also see the comments within this pane, so if you have deleted all or most of the comments, remaining changes will be easier to spot.


Flip to landscape for a better view.
Remember to flip back.

Option 2

Once you believe you have accepted/rejected all the changes, and you have deleted all or most comments, in the Changes box under the Review tab, click Next (or Previous). If you've accepted everything, you will get a message saying there are no more changes. Otherwise, you will be brought to changes you overlooked.


Flip to landscape for a better view.
Remember to flip back.

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Comments

Can You See the Comments?

I almost always leave comments, so to make sure comments are visible, under the Review tab (in the Tracking box), click on the Show Markup drop-down menu, and ensure Comments has a checkmark next to it.


Flip to landscape for a better view.
Remember to flip back.


Additionally, to see all the comments in a document, in the Tracking section of the Review tab, and then in the top-right drop-down menu, make sure the option to show all markup is selected (the exact wording varies by Word version). To recap, to see all the comments, all changes must be showing. To give an example of why this matters: sometimes I comment on deleted text, explaining why it's deleted, and if the changes are hidden/applied, the comment will be hidden along with the deletion.

How to Easily Navigate the Comments

Under the Review tab (in the Comments box) click on either Next or Previous.

How to Delete a Comment

Right-click on the comment and select Delete Comment, or you can refer to the Comments box in the toolbar up top (under the Review tab).

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Common Problems

•  If a word is underlined in red (spell check sometimes thinks correct words are misspelled), the option to Accept Change or Reject Change won't show upon right-clicking. To resolve this, right-click and select Ignore (or Ignore All) to get rid of the red underline. Then right-click again and choose whether to accept or reject the change.

•  For a small edit, it helps to place your pointer directly before the change before right-clicking so the correct menu shows up.

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OpenOffice

How to Accept/Reject Changes

Option 1

Click EditChangesAccept or Reject... and decide what to do.

Option 2

Right-click on an individual edit and Accept Change or Reject Change.

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How to See All the Changes Applied

Seeing how the document would look if all the changes were applied is helpful when dealing with convoluted markup. When you go to Edit and then Changes, Show will be checked. Uncheck it to see your document with all the changes applied. Now you can toggle between hiding or "applying" the changes, and showing the messy markup.

Don't worry: Seeing all the changes applied doesn't mean the changes have actually been applied; you have to accept or reject the changes for that to happen.

↑ Menu

Comments

Can You See the Comments?

I almost always leave comments, so to make sure comments are visible, under View, ensure Comments (which appears more than halfway down the menu) has a checkmark next to it.

How to Delete a Comment

Click on the small tab in the bottom right-hand corner of the comment and decide what to do.

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Common Problems

If a word is underlined in red (spell check sometimes thinks correct words are misspelled), the option to Accept Change or Reject Change won't show upon right-clicking. To resolve this, right-click and select Ignore (or Ignore All) to get rid of the red underline. Then right-click again and choose whether to accept or reject the change.

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