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Using Track 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 Track Changes.

Word includes a feature that allows you to see what changes have been made to a document. These changes, known as markup, are primarily created using the Track Changes feature of Word. To turn on Track Changes, use these steps if you are using Word 97 or Word 2000:

  1. Choose the Track Changes option from the Tools menu, and then choose Highlight Changes from the submenu. Word displays the Highlight Changes dialog box.
  2. Click in the Track Changes While Editing check box.
  3. Click on OK.

If you are using Word 2002 or Word 2003, you still select Track Changes from the Tools menu, but doing so displays the Reviewing toolbar, and the Track Changes tool on the toolbar is selected.

Now, as you make changes to your document, your changes are shown on-screen using marks that are very similar to those used manually by editors for years.

The exact way in which markup is shown depends on the version of Word you are using. If you are using Word 97 or Word 2000, text that is added is shown as underlined and text that is deleted is shown with a line through the middle. If you are using a later version of Word, added text is still shown as underlined, but deleted text is shown at the right of the document in elements called "balloons."

If desired, you can change the way in which Word shows the markup. To specify how the edits should be noted, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. You will see the Options dialog box.
  2. Click on the Track Changes tab. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Track Changes tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. In the dialog box, indicate how you want document additions and deletions to be noted.
  5. When done, click on OK.

After you are through making changes in the document, or if you receive a document from someone else that is marked up, you need to go through a process of examining each revision and deciding whether to keep it or toss it out. This is done by searching for the changes and then making your decision on a case-by-case basis. You do this in the following manner if you are using Word 97 or Word 2000:

  1. Position the insertion point at the beginning of your document. (This is an optional step; it makes processing the entire file quicker.)
  2. Choose the Track Changes option from the Tools menu, and then Accept or Reject Changes from the submenu. You will see the Accept or Reject Changes dialog box.
  3. Click on one of the Find buttons to display the next edit in the document. Word displays the next occurrence of text that uses revision marks.
  4. Click on either Accept or Reject, based on your decision concerning the proposed revision. The text is changed in accordance with your decision.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for each revision in the document.
  6. Click on OK when done.

If you are using Word 2002 or Word 2003, then you need to follow these steps to resolve changes:

  1. Position the insertion point at the beginning of your document. (This is an optional step; it makes processing the entire file quicker.)
  2. On the Reviewing toolbar, click the Next button to display the next edit in the document. Word displays the next occurrence of text that uses revision marks.
  3. Click on either Accept Change or Reject Change (both buttons are on the Reviewing toolbar), based on your decision concerning the proposed revision. The text is changed in accordance with your decision.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for each revision in the document.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3889) 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 Track Changes.

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