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.