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.

Using Different Colors with Tracked Changes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 20, 2018)


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.

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. ...


Setting Maximum Line Lengths in Word E-mail Messages

When you use Word as your e-mail editor, it allows you to format the text of your e-mail messages using tools you are ...

Discover More

Contingent Validation Lists

Data validation can be used to create lists of choices for entry into a particular cell. Using the techniques in this tip ...

Discover More

Conditionally Playing an Audio File

You can add audio files to an Excel worksheet, but what if you want a particular audio file to play only when a value in ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (menu)

Making Sure Changes and Comments are Anonymous

When using Track Changes, Word normally notes the originator of a particular comment or change. This information can then ...

Discover More

Counting Changed Words

Track Changes is a handy tool for those who need to see how a document changes over time. If you have a long document ...

Discover More

Setting Default Options for Track Changes

The Track changes feature in Word is a great help in editing documents, particularly if you are working with others or ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is one more than 6?

2018-05-17 18:26:26


Thank you so much for the tip, it is incredibly helpful to be able to have different markups for different moments of my editing!

2017-01-27 06:24:19

Keith Swain

Yes it DOES.

MUST make sure option "By Author" is selected!!

2017-01-27 06:06:27

Keith Swain

Nope, doesn't work. Colour STAYS THE SAME!!!

2017-01-23 09:05:02

Nigel Pacey

Two word documents with track changes by the same two reviewers in both documents. One reviewer is author of both documents. Original both documents had consistent colours for track changes (red for reviewer 1 and blue for reviewer 2) Suddenly in one document only, the colours have swapped (blue for reviewer 1 and red for reviewer 2) the other the colours remain as before

2016-08-14 03:53:16

Prashant T

It is not working.

2015-03-26 06:05:36


Great addition, Mike K, thanks a lot. This works perfectly and low effort!

2015-02-03 11:49:41


Does not work.

2015-01-05 20:23:30


Does not work. The color remains the same.

2014-11-06 11:13:27


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.

2014-10-08 09:51:04

Mike K

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.

2014-06-12 06:46:59


Works thanks!

2014-01-29 09:14:35

C Boyd

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.

This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.