Word’s Track Changes for Authors

All our editorial team use Word’s track changes feature because it makes our lives much easier! If you’re new to using it, then don’t worry, we’ve put together this quick post to clue you up and get you started. You’ll love it as much as we do in no time at all, promise…

What is Word’s Track Changes?

Track changes is a nifty little function in Microsoft Word that makes it super clear who has changed what and when using colours and notes in the margin.

How Can I Get Started with Track Changes?

track changes

The Track Changes Toggle

You can switch it on by navigating to the “Review” menu and making sure the toggle is switched on. Your version of Word may be slightly different to ours. We use Macs and you may use a PC, but nonetheless you should find track changes in the”Review” menu.

Why Do Authors, Editors and Proofreaders Use Track Changes?

Because it makes it really easy and clear to see who has changed what and when. This is obviously very useful for any document that is worked on by more than one person. It enables everyone to work off the same document meaning that you don’t have to stress about version control issues or waste time hunting around for the latest version of the file.

For example, anything an editor adds will show in a colour underlined, and anything an editor deletes will be clearly marked up in the margin.

track changes add delete

Adding and Deleting Text

This means that when the author gets the Word file returned to them, all they will need to do is keep their eyes peeled for any text that has markups – either notes in the margin or coloured text. This saves the author time as they only need to skim sections that have had no changes.

What About Comments?

Comments is another great feature of Microsoft Word, which works very well with track changes. When the editor or proofreader has a query about something or wants to flag something that is unclear, they can do this by adding a comment. They do this within the Review menu by clicking on “New Comment”. This will automatically create a coloured note in the margin for them to use to highlight the issue they want to query. The author can respond directly within that comment with their answer/explanation by placing their cursor in the comment and clicking “New Comment”

Word's comments

Word’s Comments

If you have any questions about track changes please add a comment below.

is our editorial guru. From dialogue to story arcs, she has a passion for helping authors improve their writing. She enjoys long, hilly runs in the countryside and is currently window-shopping for a new puppy. Weapon of choice: A strong coffee and a red pen. Currently reading: A Brief History of Seven Killings.
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