Accepting Only Formatting Changes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 26, 2020)


Roger edits documents revised by others who use Track Changes. But Roger doesn't care about any of their formatting changes. He wonders if there is a way to accept all formatting changes while leaving the status of all their other edits unchanged.

Accepting only the formatting changes (and leaving all the other changes still waiting your decision) can be done in Word, but the steps required aren't immediately apparent. Here's what you need to do:

  1. Display the Review tab of the ribbon.
  2. In the Tracking group, click on the Show Markup drop-down list. Word displays a list of categories of changes that it can show.
  3. Uncheck anything you want to preserve. In Roger's case, he should make sure that everything except Formatting is unchecked. (That's because Roger only wants to affect the formatting changes and leave everything else alone.)
  4. Click the down-arrow under the Accept tool, in the Changes group. Word displays some choices you can make.
  5. Choose Accept All Changes Shown. All of the formatting changes are accepted.
  6. Again, click the Show Markup drop-down list.
  7. Put check marks next to any changes you want displayed on the screen.
  8. Process the changes as you normally would.

The key to making this work is in step 5. What you are doing in steps 2 and 3 is making sure that you only display what you want to affect, and then in step 5 you are choosing to accept only what is displayed. When you click the Accept tool, you'll also see the familiar Accept All Changes option, but you should NOT choose it. If you do, then all the changes in the document—whether they are displayed or not—will be accepted.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9975) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365.

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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What is nine minus 5?

2022-09-19 15:06:52

Ray Goldberg

This was a hugely helpful tip. Thank you!

2022-06-16 11:43:59


That has saved me so much time - thank you so much!

2022-06-15 15:17:42


This is amazing — you are magic, Allen! Thank you!!

2022-02-28 01:36:08



2022-02-24 10:47:27


Thank you so much for this! I learned something new and extremely useful, it helped my work immensely.

2021-10-30 17:03:44


Wow! I am enormously grateful to you for this, Allen. Clear, straightforward, easy!

2021-10-13 23:32:41


Sir Allen, you lovely and beautiful human being. Thank you for this :)

2021-09-26 12:39:51


I have tried using this feature for years but never realized that "Accept All Changes Shown" existed. You have saved me hours of headaches and keystrokes. When we were still in the office, no one could stand next to me and how me just how to do this. Ahhhhhhhhhh

2021-08-02 13:04:40


Very useful tip indeed. I was really annoyed with all the formatting changes cluttering the screen and thanks to your tip, I was able to accept all of them in one go.

2021-07-08 07:13:32

Ameya Kunte

Thank you for this tip. Really simple and very helpful.

2021-07-05 16:41:25

Alaa Zeineldine

Thanks for the tip. I was actually looking for a way to reject all formatting changes and used your concept to solve this problem.

2021-02-11 21:03:42


Wonderful tip. Thanks!

2021-01-22 23:42:41


Great and thanks for this. I landed up here to realize what have I done. SO i had know this but not having used this option for sometime was not able to accomplish accepting formatting due to some weird reason. The mistake I was making got captured at end of Article.

2021-01-06 10:56:25


I just want to acknowledge that Allen Wyatt has the best tips ever! Very clear, easy to follow

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