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: Consolidating Changes under a Single User.

Consolidating Changes under a Single User

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 27, 2017)

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The Track Changes feature of Word comes in very handy when you want to track who makes what changes to a document. The feature makes it easy to see edits, along with the name of the person who made the change.

In some office situations, you may want changes to be done by multiple people, but to have those changes appear in the document as if they were done by a single person. For instance, your boss might make some changes in a document, and then hand a marked-up copy of the printed document to an assistant to enter more changes. Rather than have these other changes appear as if they were done by the assistant, you would probably want them to show as being done by the boss. (This makes sense—they were the boss' changes to begin with; someone else just entered them.)

There are a couple of ways this can be done in Word. The most obvious way would be for the assistant to do the changes using the boss' computer. This may not be practical, however, since the boss may not want his or her computer to be used by anyone else, or the boss' computer may be a portable that travels with the boss.

That leads to another approach—pretend to be the boss. When you have the Track Changes feature turned on in Word, it stores a user name with each change made in a document. This name is taken from the name and initials you have set up in Word. (In Word 2007 you do this in the Popular options area of the Word Options dialog box. In later versions of Word you do it in the General options area of the Word Options dialog box.)

If you want to pretend you are the boss, so that your edits show up as the boss' edits, just change the name and initials to match whatever is on the boss' system. The information has to match exactly, or Word will still consider your edits to be different from the boss' original edits. A helpful way to make sure you get everything the same is to follow these steps on the boss' computer:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 and Word 2013 display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. At the left side of the dialog box, click Popular (Word 2007) or General (later versions). (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The General options of the Word Options dialog box.

  4. Press Alt+Print Screen. This copies a picture of the dialog box to the Clipboard.
  5. Create a new, blank document.
  6. Press Ctrl+V. You should see the picture of the dialog box in the document.
  7. Print the document.

You now have a hardcopy of what the boss' user information looks like, which means you can match it exactly within your system.

One thing you should be aware of is that the information on the User Information tab is not used just for Track Changes. It is used in other places, as well. For instance, it appears in the file properties associated with a file, as well as when you insert comments. It also shows as the results for various field codes. Thus, it is a good idea to change your User Information tab only when you are going to work on the boss' document, and then change it back to your information as soon as you are done with the document. If you have to do this switch regularly, you may want to record the process into a macro that you can later replay to automatically make the change.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6084) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Consolidating Changes under a Single User.

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 one less than 4?

2014-09-17 18:29:42

Debbie Santelli

My boss is having a problem with tracking changes - he has been doing a lot of redlining within an agreement, and when he stops to take a phone call and returns to the same document he was previously working on, it is as if he is redlining his redlined document. In other words, it doesn't keep tracking the changes as he was doing just a few minutes prior. Instead, it is changing font color, etc., as if he is someone else amending the document. Is there some kind of glitch that causes this? There have been no settings changed. I hope I am making myself clear.

Thank you.


2014-06-19 09:40:00

Sheron Rice

Thank you for this excellent site.

I need to 'pretend' that I am a different user and wondered if there was a way of doing this. I have already made tracked changes in a document, but need to make other tracked changes according to different criteria. I the two sets to be clearly visible i.e. with different colours for each - how can I do this as one user?

Many thanks.


2013-11-10 02:19:22

David Brownstein

You may already have a document with revisions from multiple editors, and wish to display them as if from one editor. For example, in my company we typically deliver a technical document to a customer (as Version 10, and then, after discussion with the customer, carry out revisions and then deliver Version 2, in which we want to show the delta from the first delivery in revision marks. However, we do not want to show the customer the entire process of those revisions (and particularly not the technical writer's correction of the content editor's English). We therefore do the following.
1. Accept all revisions in the updated version.
2 Run a compare of the original version and the updated version, as follows:
a) On the Review ribbon, select Compare.
b) On the Compare dropdown, select Compare
c) In the Compare Documents dialog:
i) Browse to the original document and then to the revised document;
ii) In the Label changes with text box, type the name under which you want the revisions to appear (we use our company name here)
iii) Click OK.

All revisions appear in uniform revision marks, as if made by the identity you chose in 2 c) ii) above.


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