How To Track Changes In Word, Step By Step

Track Changes in Word

How To Track Changes In Word, Step By Step

Key Points

  • Microsoft Word is a powerful tool for creating various documents and offers features like spell check, grammar check, word count, and thesaurus.
  • The track changes feature in Word allows you to see and manage all the edits and comments made to a document.
  • You can temporarily hide tracked changes and view the document with its final edits.
  • You can accept or reject tracked changes and manage edits in real time when collaborating with others.
  • Tracking changes in Word fosters better collaboration, promotes accountability, and provides a record of your work.

Working in Microsoft Word can be both rewarding and challenging. In some ways, it is a powerful tool that allows you to create various documents, from simple memos to complex reports and manuscripts. The application software also offers many features, such as spell check, grammar check, word count, and thesaurus. These features can help you improve your writing and make your documents more professional. In other ways, working in Word can be overwhelming and time-consuming, especially if you are dealing with long documents or collaborating with other people. One of the biggest challenges is keeping track of all the changes made to a document. Keeping tabs is especially difficult if you have multiple editors and reviewers. Enter the track changes feature. It allows you to see all the edits and comments you and others make to a document and to accept or reject them as needed. But how do you track changes in Word? How do you manage multiple editors and that level of productivity?

This article will explain step by step how to track changes in Word. Also, we’ll go over how to accept edits and temporarily hide any tracked modifications in a document. Understanding these editing features will help anyone improve their Word skills while upping their professional worth.

Step 1: Open a Microsoft Word Document

You can use Word on a PC or Mac. Open the Word application, and then choose a document. You can also create a new one. 

Track Changes in Word
Open a Word document or start a new document.


Step 2: Go to Review

Review is also where you will also find Spell Check, Word Count, and Thesaurus. 

Track Changes in Word
Choose the Review option.


Step 3: Choose Track Changes

If you’re a person who prefers shortcuts, you can access track changes using the following shortcuts:

While you’re on a Mac: ⌘-Shift-E 

While you’re on PC: Ctrl-Shift-E

Track Changes in Word
Choose the Track Changes option.


Step 4: Write As Usual

You can now write in the Word doc as you normally would. Any tracked changes will appear in red. If you have more than one editor, you may see multiple colored edits. 

Track Changes in Word
When you write, all the changes will be in red.


Temporarily Hide Tracked Changes

Sometimes, Word can appear cluttered after multiple edits and comments. But, if you want to continue to edit without adding to the noise, you can temporarily hide the tracked changes. 

Choose “Final” in the dropdown box under the Review tab. “Final” will let you view the document with its final edits (so far). Using the final markup option will allow you to see every change as though you’d chosen to accept them all. The revisions haven’t disappeared, though. Anything you type will appear as edits once you choose “Final Show Markup.”  

Accepting or Rejecting Changes

Once you have gathered everyone’s feedback, suggestions, and comments, you can accept or reject the tracked changes. 

To Accept or Reject Edits:

  1. Open the Word doc.
  2. Go to the Review tab. 
  3. Choose Accept or Reject.

You can now move through the document, accepting or rejecting any changes. Alternatively, you can accept or reject one edit at a time by clicking on it in the file. 

Managing Edits in Real Time

If you’d like to collaborate with others simultaneously, you can open a Word document using a web browser. Working in Word using a browser will allow you to make changes at the same time as someone else. Essentially, you’ll both be editing in real time. 

You can generally choose to edit in a browser when someone sends you a document link. Also, you can choose “Edit in Browser” under Edit Document. If other people are editing as well, you can see their changes. 

You will need to be a paid subscriber of Microsoft Word or work in a version of 2016 or later. If you aren’t a subscriber or don’t have a newer app version, you can still see changes, but they won’t be in real-time. You will have to save the document periodically to see these changes. 

Why Track Changes In Word

Tracking changes in your Word file has a few benefits because changes people make in this mode are typically considered suggestions. In other words, they aren’t permanent or considered final. However, if you’ve ever worked in a team environment, you know people have opinions. They want these opinions to be considered. So, even if you don’t include the entirety of suggested edits, they may still feel heard. Because anyone with the file can make proposed changes, the feature fosters a feeling of team and project collaboration. That’s why one of the best reasons to use the track changes feature is to foster better collaboration.

In a working environment, teamwork can make or break a project. When working on a Word doc that will be sent to multiple people, knowing who made what edit and when will help keep everyone on track. Additionally, if you’re the document owner or the final stakeholder, you can approve or decline the suggestions. This control helps encourage and promote accountability on all sides. 

The second reason to use track changes in Word is for better accountability. Knowing who made what edits is helpful when there is more than one person responsible for the information. 

When it’s beneficial for writers to send the document to an editor or other stakeholder, tracking changes can let them know who is responsible for which sections. 

The third reason to track changes is to have a record of your work. These days, employers want to avoid paying someone for work done by AI. Using track changes in a document proves you were making edits either on the fly or while in a working session, complete with timestamps. It’s a simple way to prove you did your homework. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I make a clean copy after track changes?

You can either accept or reject all changes. Or, you can create a new document and copy-paste the edits into that. You can name this doc something like “version 8 clean,” so you know which file is free from edits.

How do I show the author name in track changes in Word?

Under Show Markup, choose Specific People. You can select “Show revisions in balloons” to show the author’s name and edits.

What is the difference between track changes and compare?

Track changes will show any edits in a document. You can select Compare to highlight any of the previous edits.


Why do we use track changes?

Using track changes allows others to make suggested edits. Nothing is permanent until you select Accept. This is good for collaboration when there are multiple stakeholders on a project.

What happens when you accept track changes?

Accepting track changes will remove the markup in the document, making all edits permanent.

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