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: Hiding Formatting Changes in Track Changes.

Hiding Formatting Changes in Track Changes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 19, 2015)


Bob uses Track Changes quite a bit in his documents and finds it very useful—except for one thing. Bob finds it very distracting that formatting changes are called-out in the changes list. He wonders if there is a way to have Word not call out the formatting changes and only include all other types of changes, making this approach be the default.

There are actually a couple of ways you can approach this issue. First, display the Review tab of the ribbon and click on the Show Markup tool. You'll see a list of various items that Word can track and show. Make sure that there is no check mark next to Formatting. With this option turned off, Word still tracks formatting changes behind-the-scenes, but it doesn't display those changes.

If you'd rather that Word didn't even keep track of formatting changes at all, then you can follow these steps for Word 2007 and Word 2010:

  1. Make sure the Review tab of the ribbon is displayed.
  2. Click the down-arrow under the Track Changes tool (in the Tracking group) and then click Change Tracking Options. Word displays the Track Changes Options dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Track Changes Options dialog box.

  4. Clear the Track Formatting check box.
  5. Click OK.

The steps for Word 2013 are slightly different:

  1. Make sure the Review tab of the ribbon is displayed.
  2. In the Tracking group, click the small arrow at the bottom right of the group (it's the one pointing down and to the right). Word displays the Track Changes Options dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  3. Figure 2. The Track Changes Options dialog box.

  4. Click on Advanced Options.
  5. Clear the Track Formatting check box.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Click OK.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10686) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Hiding Formatting Changes in 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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What is nine minus 5?

2016-11-30 10:37:20



This doesn't work for me in Word 2013.
No matter what I do, formatting changes still appear when I print the document, despite not showing on screen.

2016-08-11 10:31:27


ALR - your comment solved my problem. Thank you!

2016-06-13 09:40:21


before you create your pdf here's what i do to keep the formaating changes from showing.

go to track changes, click on the "show markup" option. ONLY Select "formatting", then go to "accept all changes shown" this will remove all the formatting changes and should not show in your pdf.

2016-06-03 16:29:43


I would also like an option to NEVER show formatting changes and wish I could default to this option.

For those with the changes showing when you convert to PDF, typically that's because there is an embedded link within the word document. If you edit links to files, highlight all links displayed & select to 'Break Link' and select 'Yes' to break the selected links, this should resolve that issue.

2016-03-28 15:35:56


This tip does not work. I am formatting articles in Word 2013. When I convert to PDF, I want tracked changes to show EXCEPT for formatting and comments. I can get them to NOT show in Word 2013 but when I print to PDF, they show up again. I have tried several of methods to convert to PDF--exporting from Word to PDF, Creating from Adobe Pro, printing to Adobe printer. Each results in the same problem. If anyone has a solution for this, I would really appreciate knowing what it is.

2016-03-13 20:02:24

Paula Hofmeister

In Word 2013 - I have cleared the Advanced Tracking Option for Track Formatting - and cleared the Track Formatting option in the Track Changes Options dialog - when I switch for not Tracking to Tracking the Track Changes Options dialog ALWAYS as Track Formatting checked (I often turn Tracking on and off while working in a document - every time I turn it back on I have to reset the options) - Also, any New Doc has the Advanced Tracking Option checked for Track Formating

Is it possible to turn Track Formatting off permanently - I NEVER want to track formatting - I do a lot of formatting and tracking all format changes slows down Word and gets in my way - or is this just one more thing I have to add to my list of why I hate Office

2015-10-08 01:26:05

casey commane

Hi, this works in Word 2013, but when you PDF the document all the formatting reappears. Any way to get rid of this as I need to PDF the document showing all additions/deletions but not the formatting which appears at the side of the document.

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