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: Hiding Formatting Changes in Track Changes.

Hiding Formatting Changes in Track Changes

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated June 9, 2018)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Bob uses Track Changes quite a bit in his documents and finds it very useful—except for one thing. Bob finds it very distracting that formatting changes are called-out in the changes list. He wonders if there is a way to have Word not call out the formatting changes and only include all other types of changes, and to have this approach be the default for Track Changes.

There are actually a couple of ways you can approach this issue. First, when you turn on Track Changes, Word displays the Reviewing toolbar. You can control what changes Word displays on the screen by using the Show drop-down list. When you display the Show drop-down list, make sure that there is no check mark next to Formatting. With this option turned off, Word still tracks formatting changes behind-the-scenes, but it doesn't display those changes.

If you'd rather that Word didn't even keep track of formatting changes at all, then you can follow these steps:

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

  4. Using the Formatting drop-down list, select None.
  5. Click OK.

These steps are "sticky," meaning that you only need to do them once. Word remembers your choice and won't keep track of formatting changes in the future.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10685) 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: Hiding Formatting Changes in Track 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. ...

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