Colors for Tracking Changes not Acting Properly

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 20, 2013)

Cheri has a document that is behaving oddly. The document was revised using Track Changes. Upon receiving the document it showed the markups for the first reviewer, who used Word 2000. The second reviewer, using Word 2003, revised the same document, again with Track Changes turned on. During this second revision, each reviewer's changes showed up in a separate color, as they should. The document was saved and closed, but when it was opened up again, all the reviewer changes appeared in a single color; the changes from both reviewers were there, but they looked as if they had been done by a single reviewer.

The first thing to check out is if this problem occurs on a number of different machines. Odds are good that it won't, and that it will only be limited to one or two machines. (On the other machines, the colors should display differently for each editor.) On the machine (or machines) where the colors all appear the same, display the Track Changes tab of the Options dialog box by choosing Tools | Options | Track Changes. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Track Changes tab of the Options dialog box.

Make sure that all the Color settings (with the exception of the color setting for the change bars) are set to "By Author." If these settings are for a specific color, then it can affect how changes are displayed in the document. Some people misunderstand and think that these color settings affect only those changes done by the current author. That is not correct; the setting affects the display of all edits and makes them indistinguishable according to author.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (300) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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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