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: Changing How Changes are Noted in Word.

Changing How Changes are Noted in Word

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated August 19, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


If you use the Track Changes feature of Word, you know how your document looks as you make changes. Added text is shown in some different color, and deleted text is shown with a strikethrough or in balloons to the side of your text. You may want to change how Word shows your changed text. Fortunately, Word allows you great flexibility in this area. To make your configuration changes, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Word displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Select the Track Changes tab. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Track Changes tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. Using the controls in the dialog box, indicate how you want your changes to appear when you have Track Changes turned on.
  5. Click on OK.

In Word 97 and Word 2000, the Track Changes tab allows you to specify four different ways in which changes can be tracked:

  • Inserted Text. Any text you add in a document is normally shown in a different color, and with an underline. You can cause Word to display the text using bold, italic, or a double underline, if you rather.
  • Deleted Text. Normally deleted text is shown with a line through it. You can, instead, cause Word to use hidden text to mark deleted text. You can also cause deleted text to be marked with a carat or a hash mark.
  • Changed Formatting. Typically Word doesn't call attention to any formatting changes in your text. If you want to keep track of this, then change the settings to show how you want note the changes. Word can denote these changes using bold, italic, underlined, or double-underlined text. (The concept of using formatting to indicate formatting changes seems rather circular, doesn't it?)
  • Changed Lines. This setting is used to specify how any lines that contain changes should be noted. Normally, Word adds a vertical bar to the outside border of the line.

In Word 2002 and Word 2003 the options available on the Track Changes tab are a bit different:

  • Track Changes Options. Here you specify how you want text insertions to appear in your document. They normally appear as underlined text in a different color, but you can instruct Word to use different types of formatting for the text you add to the document.
  • Balloons. The controls in this area allow you to specify if Word should use change balloons in your document. These balloons appear at the right side of a document and indicate, precisely, the changes made at different points in the document.
  • Printing. Here you specify how you want Word to print your document when there are change balloons present. You can choose Auto, which allows Word to decide whether to print in portrait or landscape mode; you can chose Preserve, which forces Word to keep the same orientation you specified for your document; and you can choose Force Landscape which forces Word to use landscape orientation whenever there are any change balloons.
  • Changed Lines. This setting is used to specify how any lines that contain changes should be noted. Normally, Word adds a vertical bar to the outside border of the line.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (40) 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: Changing How Changes are Noted in Word.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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