How to Use Track Changes

Microsoft Word's Track Changes tool 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

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

How to "Accept" or "Reject" Changes

You can accept/reject the changes in a few ways. Here are my favorites:

Option 1

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

Option 2

Under the Review tab > in the Changes area > click either Accept or Reject.

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 (refer to image under Option 2).

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Hide Convoluted Markup

As you review my changes, hiding convoluted markup may be helpful.

Under the Review tab > in the Tracking area > select Show Markup > then check/uncheck Insertions and Deletions to toggle between hiding and showing the markup.

Don't worry—seeing all the changes as if they're applied doesn't mean the changes have actually been applied. You have to accept or reject them for that to happen.

↑ Menu

Have You Overlooked Small Changes?

Little changes can make a big difference, but they're easily overlooked. To ensure no changes are missed:

Option 1

Under the Review tab > in the Tracking area > click Reviewing Pane.

A pane will appear once you select Reviewing Pane. Look for any remaining changes here (e.g., anything that says "Inserted" or "Deleted"). You'll also see the comments within this pane, so remaining changes will be easier to spot if you've deleted most of the comments by this point.


Flip for a better view.

Option 2

Under the Review tab > in the Changes area > select 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 (and comments) you overlooked.


Flip for a better view.

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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 area > select Show Markup > and check Comments.


Note that sometimes I comment on deleted text (e.g., explaining why I recommend cutting it), and if the changes are hidden, the comment will be hidden too. In other words, to make sure you're seeing all comments, show rather than hide the markup.

How to Easily Navigate the Comments

Under the Review tab > in the Comments area > click either Next or Previous.

How to Delete a Comment

Option 1

Right-click the comment and select Delete Comment.

Option 2

Select the comment. Then under the Review tab > go to the Comments area > click Delete.

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Common Problems

•  If a word is underlined in red (spellcheck 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.

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

↑ Menu

OpenOffice

How to "Accept" or "Reject" Changes

Option 1

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

Option 2

Edit > Changes > Select Accept or Reject... and decide what to do within the new menu that will pop up.

↑ Menu

Hide Convoluted Markup

As you review my changes, hiding convoluted markup may be helpful.

Click Edit in the menu > go to Changes > check/uncheck Show to toggle between hiding and showing the markup.

Don't worry—seeing all the changes as if they're applied doesn't mean the changes have actually been applied. You have to accept or reject them for that to happen.

↑ Menu

Comments

Can You See the Comments?

I almost always leave comments, so make sure comments are visible.

Click View in the menu > check Comments (which appears more than halfway down the menu).

How to Delete a Comment

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

↑ Menu

Common Problems

•  If a word is underlined in red (spellcheck 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.

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Copyright © Lauren I. Ruiz 2010–2021