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. ...


AutoFormat within Form Fields

When entering information into protected form fields, Word doesn't apply the formatting inherent in the AutoFormat As You ...

Discover More

Creating an AutoShape

Ever wanted to create a simple drawing in your worksheet? Excel has made this simple. This tip explains how Excel uses ...

Discover More

Shortcut for Viewing Formulas

If you need to switch between viewing formulas and viewing the results of those formulas, you'll love the keyboard ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Getting Rid of Markup

Word includes editing tools that allow you to track what changes you've made in a document. Making the tracked changes go ...

Discover More

Getting a Warning for Markup

Many people, when collaborating on a document with others, use the Track Changes feature to show the effects of their ...

Discover More

Showing Only Added Text with Track Changes

Do you want to change how Track Changes displays the markup in your document? Here's how you can completely hide deleted ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 3 + 2?

2018-06-10 17:13:58


Your solutions for getting rid of format-change tracking USED to work. However, they do not work any more. It is necessary to turn of format-change tracking over and over and over and over. Ad nauseum.

2017-10-12 13:25:03

Russell Smiley

The problem with un-checking all the various formatting options is that they never go away for long, i.e. they 're-check' themselves on a regular basis, randomly, and 100% of the time when a doc is closed out and then reopened. I don't know if this is a glitch, or if Microsoft really does hate all of us as much as I suspect they do.
Any ideas?

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.

This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.