Track changes in Word

Turning on Track Changes gives you and your coworkers a way to make changes that are easy to spot. The changes are like suggestions that you can review, and then remove them or make them permanent.

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Turn Track Changes on and off by going to Review > Track Changes.

Track changes
  • When it's turned on, deletions are marked with a strikethrough, and additions are marked with an underline. Different authors' changes are indicated with different colors.

  • When it's turned off, Word stops marking changes, but the colored underlines and strikethrough are still in the document.

Practice with Track Changes and other collaboration features in Word by downloading this Collaborate in Word learning guide.

View suggested changes

To review the changes in your document, go to Review > Tracking > Display for Review.

  • To review the changes, indicated by a red line in the margin, choose Simple Markup.

  • For a detailed view of the changes, choose All Markup.

  • For a preview of how the document will look if you make all the suggested changes permanent, choose No Markup.

  • To view the original document as if all the suggested changes were removed, choose Original.

  • Go to Review> Track Changes. Repeat to turn changes on or off.

    Tracking group with track changes turned on

Note: If the Track Changes feature is unavailable, you might have to turn off document protection. Go to Review > Restrict Editing, and then select Stop Protection. (You might need to know the document password.)

To add a track changes indicator to the status bar, right-select the status bar and choose Track Changes.

When you turn off Track Changes, you can revise the document without marking what has changed. Turning off the feature, however, doesn't remove any changes that have already been tracked.

  • On the Review tab, in the Tracking group, choose Track Changes button.

    The Track Changes button no longer is highlighted as shown in the following image.

    Tracking group

Important: To remove tracked changes, use the Accept and Reject commands on the Review tab in the Changes group.

Display all changes inline

The default in Word is to display deletions and comments in balloons in the margins of the document. However, you can change the display to show comments inline and all deletions with strikethroughs instead of inside balloons.

  1. On the Review tab, in the Tracking group, select Show Markup.

    Show Markup command

  2. Point to Balloons, and then select Show All Revisions Inline to show deletions with strikethroughs and comments inline.

Display comments in ScreenTips instead of balloons

The default in Word is to display deletions and comments in balloons in the margins of the document. However, you can change the display to show comments inline. Inline comments can be viewed when you rest your pointer on the comment indicator.

  1. On the Review tab, in the Tracking group, select Show Markup.

    Show Markup command

  2. Point to Balloons, and then select Show All Revisions Inline to show deletions with strikethroughs and comments inline.

  3. Rest the pointer on a comment in the document. The comment appears in a ScreenTip.

    Inline comment

Display changes by type of edit or by reviewer

  1. On the Review tab, in the Tracking group, select Show Markup.

    Show Markup command

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Select to select the type of change that you want to display.

      For example, select Comments or Insertions and Deletions. The check mark next to the item indicates that the item is selected.

      Show Markup list of options
       

      Important: Even if you hide a type of markup by clearing it on the Show Markup menu, the markup automatically appears each time the document is opened by you or a reviewer.

    • Point to Reviewers, and then select to clear all check boxes except the ones next to the names of the reviewers whose changes and comments you want to show.

      Note: To select or clear all check boxes for all reviewers in the list, select All Reviewers.

Display changes and comments for specific reviewers

An editor or reviewer usually wants to view a document as it will appear after their changes are incorporated. This procedure gives an editor or reviewer the opportunity to see how the document will look with the changes.

  • On the Review tab, in the Tracking group, select the arrow in the Display for Review box, and then choose the option that you want.

    Display for Review menu of options

    • Final Showing Markup    This view displays the final document with all tracked changes and comments showing. This is the default view for all documents opened in Word.

    • Final    This view displays the document with all changes incorporated into the text and without tracked changes showing. However, any tracked changes or comments that have not been accepted, rejected, or deleted remain in the document.

    • Original Showing Markup    This view displays the original text with tracked changes and comments.

    • Original    This view displays the original document without tracked changes and comments showing. However, any tracked changes or comments in the document that have not been accepted, rejected, or deleted remain in the document.

Note: If you want to see comments and tracked changes in balloons, you must be in Print Layout view or Web Layout view.

Hide tracked changes and comments when printing

Hiding changes does not remove changes from the document. You must use the Accept and Reject commands in the Changes group to remove markup from your document.

  1. Select the File tab.

  2. Select Print.

  3. Under Settings, select the arrow next to Print All Pages.

  4. Select Print Markup to clear the check mark.

    Print markup in Word

Review a summary of tracked changes

The Reviewing Pane is a handy tool for making sure that all tracked changes have been removed from your document and won't show up to others who might view your document. The summary section at the top of the Reviewing Pane displays the exact number of visible tracked changes and comments that remain in your document.

The Reviewing Pane also allows you to read long comments that don't fit within a comment bubble.

Note: The Reviewing Pane, unlike the document or the comment bubbles, is not the best tool for making changes to your document. Instead of deleting text or comments or making other changes in the Reviewing Pane, make all editorial changes in the document. The changes will then be visible in the Reviewing Pane.

Tracking group

  1. On the Review tab, in the Tracking group, choose one of the following:

    • To view the summary at the side of your screen, choose Reviewing Pane.

    • To view the summary across the bottom of your screen, in the Reviewing Pane list, choose Reviewing Pane Horizontal.

  2. Choose Show Detailed Summary to view the number of each type of change.

    summary pane

Review each tracked change and comment in sequence

  1. On the Review tab, in the Changes group, select Next or Previous.

    o14 ribbon

  2. Do one of the following:

    • In the Changes group, choose Accept.

    • In the Changes group, choose Reject.

    • In the Comments group, choose Delete.

  3. Accept or reject changes and delete comments until there are no more tracked changes or comments in your document, and then confirm all tracked changes are accepted or rejected and that all comments are deleted.

  4. On the Review tab, in the Tracking group, choose Reviewing Pane.

    Note: The summary section at the top of the Reviewing Pane displays the exact number of tracked changes and comments that remain in your document.

Review changes by type of edit or by a specific reviewer

  1. On the Review tab, in the Tracking group, do one of the following:

    Tracking group

    • In the Show Markup list, clear all check boxes except for those next to the types of changes that you want to review.

    • In the Show Markup list, choose Reviewers, and then clear all check boxes except those next to the names of the reviewers whose changes you want to see.

    • In the Show Markup list, choose All Reviewers to select or clear the check boxes for all reviewers in the list

  2. On the Review tab, in the Changes group, choose Next or Previous.

    o14 ribbon

  3. Do one of the following:

    • In the Changes group, choose Accept.

    • In the Changes group, choose Reject.

Accept all changes at the same time

  1. On the Review tab, in the Changes group, choose Next or Previous.

    o14 ribbon

  2. In the Accept list, choose Accept All Changes in Document.

Reject all changes at the same time

  1. On the Review tab, in the Changes group, choose Next or Previous.

    o14 ribbon

  2. In the Reject list, choose Reject All Changes in Document.

Delete comments

  1. Select the comment.

  2. On the Review tab, in the Comments group, select Delete.

    To delete all comments at once, select the arrow below Delete, and then select Delete All Comments in Document.

Turn Track Changes on

On the Review tab, turn on Track Changes.

Turn on Track Changes is highlighted

Anytime someone changes the document, Word will show you where the changes are by displaying a line in the margin. If you switch to All Markup view, you'll see changes inline and in balloons.

Markup is highlighted near the margin

Anytime someone adds a comment, it'll show up in a balloon.

A comment in the margin is highlighted

Show changes inline

Word typically shows changes in balloons near the margin of your document. If you want to see changes inline, on the Review tab, select Markup Options > Balloons > Show All Revisions Inline.

Show all Revisions inline is highlighted

Keep Track Changes on

You can prevent others from turning off Track Changes by locking Track Changes on with a password.

Important: Be sure to remember the password so you can turn Track Changes off when you’re ready to accept or reject the changes.

Lock Track Changes with a password

  1. On the Tools menu, select Protect Document.

  2. Under Protection, check Protect document for and select Tracked changes

    Protection section is highlighted

  3. Next to Password, type a password and select OK.

  4. Re-enter your password and select OK.

While tracked changes are locked, you can’t turn off change tracking, and you can’t accept or reject changes.

Unlock Track Changes

  1. To unlock tracked changes, on the Tools menu, select Protect Document.

  2. Under Protection, uncheck Protect document for, and enter your password and select OK.

After that, Track Changes will still be still on, but you'll be able to accept and reject changes.

Turn off Track Changes

On the Review tab, turn off Track Changes. Word stops marking up new changes—but all of the changes that were already tracked will still be in the document. For more info, see remove the tracked changes and comments.

Turn tracked changes on or off

When tracked changes are turned on, Word marks any changes that are made by any authors of the document. This is useful when you are collaborating with other authors because you can see which authors made a particular change.

  1. Open the document that you want to edit.

  2. On the Review tab, under Tracking, select the Track Changes switch to turn on track changes.

    Review tab, Tracking group

    Tips: 

    • Each reviewer's changes are displayed in a different color. If there are more than eight reviewers, colors are reused.

    • To assign a specific color to your own tracked changes, on the Word menu, select Preferences, and then under Output and Sharing, select Track Changes  Word Tracked Changes Preferences button . In the Color boxes, select the color that you want.

    • The reviewer's name, the date and time that the change was made, and the kind of change that was made (for example, Deleted) also appear in the markup balloons for each change. If you're not displaying markup balloons, this information appears when you hover over a change.

    • The Highlight Changes options on the Tools > Track Changes menu (Highlight changes on screen, Highlight changes in printed document) and the options on the Review tab pop-up menu (Final Showing Markup, Final, Original Showing Markup, Original) are not saved settings. If you don't want tracked changes to display when you re-open the document, you need to accept or reject the changes. If you want a record of the revisions, save a copy of the document before accepting or rejecting changes.

Show tracked changes or comments by type or by reviewer

You can show or hide a document's comments, formatting, insertions, and deletions or view comments for only the reviewers that you select.

  • On the Review tab, under Tracking, on the Show Markup pop-up menu, select the option that you want.

    Review tab, Tracking group

    Tip: To display a shaded background behind the area where tracked changes or comments appear in the right margin, on the Show Markup pop-up menu, select Markup Area Highlight. This shaded area also prints with your document to help separate the document text from the tracked changes or comments.

Turn off tracked changes in balloons

By default, insertions, deletions, comments, the reviewer's name, and a time stamp are displayed in balloons that appear in the margins of your document. You can change your settings to display tracked changes in the body of the document.

  1. On the Review tab, under Tracking, on the Show Markup pop-up menu, select Preferences.

    Review tab, Tracking group

  2. Do one of the following:

To

Do this

Display tracked changes in the body of the document instead of in balloons

Clear the Use balloons to display changes check box.

Hide the reviewer's name and the time and date stamp in balloons

Clear the Include reviewer, time stamp, and action buttons check box.

Note: With balloons turned off, commented text is enclosed in brackets, highlighted by a color, and identified by the reviewer's initials. Comments appear in a small pop-up window when you rest the pointer over commented text, except when your document is in publishing layout view.

Change the formatting of tracked changes

You can customize how revision mark appear and work in Word.

  1. On the Review tab, under Tracking, on the Show Markup pop-up menu, select Preferences.

    Review tab, Tracking group

  2. Select the options that you want. The following table lists some frequently used formatting options.

To

Do this

Change the color and other formatting that Word uses to identify changes

Under Markup, select the formatting options that you want on the pop-up menus.

Indicate deletions without displaying the text that was deleted

Under Markup, on the Deletions pop-up menu, select # or ^.

Deleted text will be replaced with the character # or ^.

Alter the appearance of changed lines

Under Markup, on the Changed lines and Colors pop-up menus, select the options that you want.

Track text that is moved

Under Moves, select Track moves, and then on the Moved from, Moved to, and Color pop-up menus, select the options that you want.

Change the color that Word uses to mark changes that are made to table cells

Under Table cell highlighting, on the Inserted cells, Deleted cells, Merged cells, and Split cells pop-up menus, select the options that you want.

Review tracked changes and comments

You can review and accept or reject each tracked change in sequence, accept or reject all changes at one time, delete all comments at one time, or review the items that are created by a specific reviewer.

  1. If revision marks don't appear in the document, on the Tools menu, point to Track Changes, select Highlight Changes, and then select the Highlight changes on screen check box.

  2. Do one of the following:

To

On the Review tab, do this

Then do this

Review the next change

Under Changes, select Next

Select Accept or Reject.

Review the previous change

Under Changes, select Previous

Select Accept or Reject.

Accept all changes at one time

Under Changes, select the arrow next to Accept

Select Accept All Changes in Document.

Reject all changes at one time

Under Changes, select the arrow next to Reject

Select Reject All Changes in Document.

Delete all comments at one time

Under Comments, select the arrow next to Delete

Select Delete All Comments in Document.

Review items created by a specific reviewer

Under Tracking, select Show Markup

Point to Reviewers, and then clear all check marks except the one next to the name of the reviewer whose changes you want to review.

To select or clear the check boxes for all reviewers in the list, select All Reviewers.

Note: When you rest the pointer on a tracked change, a ScreenTip appears that displays the author's name, the date and time of the change, and the kind of change that was made.

Print tracked changes

Tracked changes can be useful to include in a printed version of a document.

  1. Open the document that contains the tracked changes that you want to print.

  2. On the File menu, select Print.

  3. On the Copies & Pages pop-up menu, select Microsoft Word.

    Tip: If you don't see the Copies & Pages pop-up menu, select the blue downward facing arrow to the right of the Printer pop-up menu.

  4. On the Print What pop-up menu, select Document showing markup.

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