Noting Changes at the Left of the Text

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 1, 2014)

Danielle is aware of how to use Track Changes in a document, but it doesn't do exactly what she wants. When a change is made, Danielle wants to keep the line at the left side of the document that shows a change was made, but she doesn't care about noting the actual change itself. She wants that line to remain even after the changes have been accepted in order to show that a change was once made at that location.

The short answer is that you can't do this in Word, at least not automatically. Track changes is a "self contained" system designed to note changes and then, in some fashion, resolve those changes. Once they are resolved (the change is either accepted or rejected), then the notation of the change is eliminated completely; there is no way to make it linger.

One possible solution, if you don't mind some manual formatting, is to use styles to define where changes have been made. For instance, you may use several different types of styles in your document—such as Body Text, Indent, Quote, etc. You could create secondary styles based on each of these, with the one difference being that the style includes a left border on the paragraph. Thus, you could have Body Text and Body Text Changed. When you may a change in a paragraph normally formatted with the Body Text style, simply apply the Body Text Changed style to the paragraph and the desired line will appear at the left of the paragraph.

There are several drawbacks to this manual approach, to be sure. The first is that it is, well, manual. That means you need to take additional time to change styles whenever you make a change in a paragraph. The second drawback is that the formatting is only granular to a paragraph level. If you want the "change bar" to appear at the left of a single line on which there may have been a change, then that won't work with this approach; the border appears on the entire paragraph, no matter how long it is.

Another alternative is to maintain a separate copy of our documents. The first could be the "original" document, prior to any changes. The other copy would be the latest and greatest version of the document. You could then use Word's compare documents feature to create a marked-up version of a document showing the differences between the two. That marked-up copy could be the one you use for distribution, as it shows where changes have been made.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6791) 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Changing Spacing Between Table Cells

Need to adjust the space between individual cells in a table? Word gives you a good deal of control over this spacing, as ...

Discover More

Aligning Equation Elements

Use the Equation Editor to insert an equation into your document, and you'll eventually want to align the elements that make ...

Discover More

Changing Default Languages

Modifying the default language used by Word.

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

MORE WORDTIPS (MENU)

Viewing Your Entire Document Width

The Zoom tool is very useful to help you see all of your document information. Here's how to make sure you can see all the ...

Discover More

Creating New Windows

A great way to work on different parts of the same document at the same time is to create windows. These function as ...

Discover More

Using Manual Line Breaks with Justified Paragraphs

If you use justified paragraphs, you know that if you press Shift+Enter, it can lead to some odd spacing between words and ...

Discover More
Subscribe

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

View most recent newsletter.

Comments for this tip:

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

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.

Subscribe

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.

Links and Sharing
Share