Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. 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: Using Different Colors with Tracked Changes.

Using Different Colors with Tracked Changes

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated March 30, 2019)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


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Deborah uses Track Changes to note edits made in a document. She made corrections in a document with Track Changes turned on, so her 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 if you are using Word 2007 or Word 2010:

  1. Display the Review tab on the ribbon.
  2. Click the down-arrow under the Track Changes option in the Tracking group.
  3. Choose Change User Name. Word displays the Popular options of the Word Options dialog box if you are using Word 2007. If you are using Word 2010 then it displays the General options of the Word Options dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The General options of the Word Options dialog box.

  5. Change the User Name field value by adding or deleting a middle initial or name or by adding a number to the end of the name.
  6. Change the Initials field to correspond more closely to the change you made in the User Name field.
  7. Click OK.

If you are using Word 2013 or a later version, then the steps are a bit different:

  1. Display the Review tab on the ribbon.
  2. Click the small arrow at the bottom-right of the Tracking group. Word displays the Track Changes Options dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  3. Figure 2. The Track Changes Options dialog box.

  4. Click the Change User Name button. Word displays the General options of the Word Options dialog box.
  5. Change the User Name field value by adding or deleting a middle initial or name or by adding a number to the end of the name.
  6. Change the Initials field to correspond more closely to the change you made in the User Name field.
  7. Make sure the Always Use These Values Regardless of Sign in to Office checkbox is selected. (This step is very important.) (See Figure 3.)
  8. Figure 3. The General options of the Word Options dialog box.

  9. Click OK.

Edits with Track Changes will now be in a new color. When the mouse hovers over a 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 (6083) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word 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. ...

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Comments

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What is five more than 6?

2020-05-28 10:20:16

Jason

One can also use this to spoof one's co-worker.

I've only used this ethically (File was corrupted. I recreated my co-worker's edits spoofing his username).


2020-03-09 19:15:33

DAVID JOHNSON

Excellent tip, just what I needed (and 20 other pages didn't have).


2019-04-22 13:49:56

Jason DaSilva

I have been going through a lot of your write ups on word. I am looking for something specific on these lines, dealing with Author Colors. The only other documentation I can find is from 2015 stating that either Word Auto Assigns colors for the authors, or you have only one color for everyone. I am hoping this has changed, as I want to have the possibility to set the author color base on their role in the QC process. CoAuthor 1 and 2 should be red, CoAuthor 3 is green, and CoAuther 4 is Blue. Hoping this is possible...


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