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Using Different Colors with Tracked Changes

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Using Different Colors with Tracked Changes.

Deborah uses Track Changes to note edits made in a document. She made corrections in a document with Track Changes turned on, so my changes were in one color. Her boss reviewed the document and gave it back to her, asking that the next round of changes be in a different color than the first round was. Deborah wonders if there is a way to specify that her next set of changes be in a different color.

Word's Track Changes feature chooses markup colors based on the user name. To make future changes you need to alter the user name slightly. Here are the steps:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Word displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the User Information tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The User Information tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. Change the Name field value by adding or deleting a middle initial or name or by adding a number to the end of the name.
  5. Change the Initials field to correspond more closely to the change you made in the Name field.
  6. Click OK.

Edits with Track Changes will now be in a new color. When the mouse hovers over change, the new user name will be displayed. If you change the user name back to the original value, future edits will revert to color that was first assigned to that name.

When you are done, be sure to change your user name back to the original value so that other documents will be labeled with that name instead of a convoluted name for editing purposes.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3787) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Using Different Colors with Tracked Changes.

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Comments for this tip:

Prashant T    14 Aug 2016, 03:53
It is not working.
Micah    26 Mar 2015, 06:05
Great addition, Mike K, thanks a lot. This works perfectly and low effort!
MichAEl    03 Feb 2015, 11:49
Does not work.
Elaine    05 Jan 2015, 20:23
Does not work. The color remains the same.
Geana    06 Nov 2014, 11:13
My issue is that even if the two people editing the document have different initials and the By Author feature is turned on on both machines the changes show up in the same color. This happens frequently but with no regularity.
Mike K    08 Oct 2014, 09:51
This is amazing! I have a co-worker who was not able to use the assigned color for edits. This tip actually worked on MAC too.

For Office Mac 2011 goto:
Word --> Preferences --> User information (in personal settings group). Change username by adding a letter, hit OK. Remove the added letter, hit OK. Done - you've got a new randomly assigned color with the same username.
VR    12 Jun 2014, 06:46
Works thanks!
C Boyd    29 Jan 2014, 09:14
Nice tip. I'd love for there to be a way to automate the change in user information. Any suggestions for how to do that? I'm using Word 2011 on a Mac, FYI.

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