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Turning Off Track Changes Change Bars

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Turning Off Track Changes Change Bars.

Word includes a feature that allows you to track changes made to a document. One of the ways in which Word marks your changes on a document is to include a change bar at the side of a line in which a change was made. This is fairly common in editing, but it may not be to your liking. You can turn off the change bars by following these steps:

  1. Display the Review tab of the ribbon.
  2. Click the down-arrow just under the Track Changes tool (in the Tracking group).
  3. Choose Change Tracking Options. Word displays the Track Changes Options dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Track Changes Options dialog box.

  5. In the Markup section use the Changed Lines drop-down list to choose (None).
  6. Click on OK to close the dialog box.

Note that making this setting change hides the appearance of the change bars. Rest assured they are still there and can be redisplayed by choosing to display them again.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8765) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Turning Off Track Changes Change Bars.

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Comments for this tip:

Terry    19 Aug 2015, 14:49
FYI unfortunately those Word 2010 settings for track changes appear to be settings for the local Word and not for the document. Which means I can't configure a doc for change bars only, save it and send it to someone else and expect that they will see the same view as me with Track Changes on.
Paul Stregevsky (formerly Maryland, USA    12 Jul 2015, 07:31
To add to Bryan's suggestion: You can "permanently" add the Track Changes toggle to your Word status bar. In Word for Windows, right-click the status bar; then, left-click Track Changes.

When Track Changes is "On," the toggle--labeled TC, if I recall correctly (I'm writing this on my phone)--changes from grey to black.
Paul Stregevsky (formerly Maryland, USA)    12 Jul 2015, 07:21
@Alice Watson:
Thank you for clarifying that while the tip was written for Word 2007 and 2010, the screenshot shows Word 2013, which requires one more click (Advanced Options...) to reveal the needed toggle.
Alice Walton    11 Jul 2015, 10:53
(Word 2013) Click on the down-arrow just under the Track Changes Tool to get the Track Changes Options dialog box,then click on Advanced Options to reveal the full Track Changes dialog box. Under Markup (at the top of the dialog box), click on the down-arrow next to Changed Lines,and then choose None and click OK. Hope this clears up the confusion in this tip.
Bryan    19 Aug 2013, 07:49
@David: Review Tab > Tracking Group > Track Changes Button. It's a toggle so you can just click it to turn changes on or off. (Shortcut keys Alt + R + G + G).
David Martin    17 Aug 2013, 19:23
I understand this question does not exactly correspond with the subject at hand, but it somes close.

I am quite familar with W2003 but am now using 2007. Someone sent me a doc prepared in W2003 with tracking changes.
I accepted most and rejected a few but ALL changes were addressed. I then saved the doc.

When I later reviewed it, I noticed there were a few changes I wanted to make on my own. Every time I did that I had to either accept the change or let it all ride until I was finished with the document and do a global accept all.

Is there a way to turn tracking changes off when not desired/needed?


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