A few words about Microsoft Word and Track Changes

Review toolbar

One of the most useful – yet potentially embarrassing – features of Microsoft Word is Track Changes. Using the Track Changes feature lets you electronically markup your Word documents with edits, additions, and revisions. Think of it as an electronic red pen so to speak.

The potential embarrassment of the feature comes in when you don’t accept the Track Changes. Comments, edits, and revisions not fit for public consumption can leak out. Even if none of the comments are critical, it is just plain sloppy to have a recipient open up a document that still contains markups.

Here is the advice I give people about using track changes:

  • Always accept and reject track changes. Track changes remain in a document unless you clear. Click the Review tab to open the Review ribbon. Click Accept, a drop down list appears. Select Accept All Changes in Document to accept all the changes in the document en masse. Optionally, select Accept and move to Next to accept track changes one by one. I usually recommend people select track changes one-by-one as they review the changes versus accepting them all and take the chance of missing a change or addition that doesn’t jive with the document. Click Reject, a drop-down list appears. Click Reject all Changes in Document without committing any changes to the document. More likely, you’ll be accepting or rejecting changes as you go through the document. In that case, select Reject and Move to Next.
  • Document views have no impact on content. Microsoft Office application views are just that – views of how the content appears on your screen. Changing a view has no impact on content.

I’ve seen track changes cause some issues over the years. It is one of the reasons why I became so interested in Microsoft Office document security and privacy.

Published by

Will Kelly

Will Kelly is a technical writer living and working in the Washington, DC area. After years of contracting, he returned to full-time corporate job in 2016. He writes thought leadership content around cloud, enterprise mobility, and cybersecurity topics. Will's has written for Samsung Business Insights, Tom's IT Pro, TechBeacon, CNET TechRepublic, and other sites. Earlier in his career, he wrote technical documentation for end users, developers, and operations teams. His current areas of interest include multi-cloud solutions, mobile security, and managed services. Follow Will on Twitter: @willkelly.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s