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: Using Track Changes.

Using Track Changes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 27, 2015)

Word includes a feature that allows you to see what changes have been made to a document. These changes, known as markup, are primarily created using the Track Changes feature of Word. To turn on Track Changes, all you need to do is display the Review tab of the ribbon. In the Tracking group, click the Track Changes tool.

From this point, as you make changes to your document, your changes are shown on-screen using marks that are very similar to those used manually by editors for years. The essence of markup is that added text is shown as underlined and deleted text is shown at the right of the document in elements called "balloons."

If desired, you can change the way in which Word shows the markup. To specify how the edits should be noted, follow these steps if you are using Word 2007 or Word 2010:

  1. Make sure the Review tab of the ribbon is displayed.
  2. In the Tracking group, click the down-arrow just under the Track Changes tool.
  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 dialog box, use the controls to indicate how you want document additions and deletions to be noted.
  6. When done, click on OK.

If you are using Word 2013 the steps are a bit different. The biggest difference is in how you display the correct dialog box to make changes.

  1. Make sure the Review tab of the ribbon is displayed.
  2. Click the small icon at the lower-right corner of the Tracking group. Word displays the Track Changes Options dialog box.
  3. Click Advanced Options. Word displays the Advanced Track Changes Options dialog box, which looks almost precisely like the Track Changes Options dialog box in earlier versions of Word.
  4. In the dialog box, use the controls to indicate how you want document additions and deletions to be noted.
  5. When done, click the OK button.
  6. Click on OK to dismiss the Track Changes Options dialog box.

After you are through making changes in the document, or if you receive a document from someone else that is marked up, you need to go through a process of examining each revision and deciding whether to keep it or toss it out. This is done by searching for the changes and then making your decision on a case-by-case basis. You do this in the following manner:

  1. Position the insertion point at the beginning of your document. (This is an optional step; it makes processing the entire file quicker.)
  2. Make sure the Review tab of the ribbon is displayed.
  3. Click the Next tool in the Changes group. Word finds and selects the next change in the document.
  4. Click either the Accept or Reject tool based on your decision concerning the change. The text is changed in accordance with your decision.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for each change in the document.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6112) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Using 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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