Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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: Setting Default Options for Track Changes.
Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 17, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021
Diane uses Word's Track Changes feature with most documents. Despite this routine use, she frequently launches into editing without remembering to go to Track Changes options and re-select her standard set of features (e.g., the "Always" setting for the editing, blue font for insertions, etc.). She notes that her memory isn't improving, so she is wondering if Word provides a way to change the default settings for Track Change options.
How Track Changes operates can sometimes be a mystery. In general, if you set options for Track Changes, those settings should be persistent; they should be saved by default. What is the mystery is where those settings are saved.
The Track Changes settings are saved in the Windows Registry, in the Word data key. This means that the settings can be easily pulled by Word from the data key anytime Track Changes is turned on. This can be verified by following these general steps:
At this point, the way in which the changes are displayed should be according to the settings you made in step 7, not according to the settings you made in step 2. That is because the settings are stored in the Registry, not with the document itself. The only thing that is saved with the document itself (relative to Track Changes) is whether Track Changes is turned on or off for the document.
If your Track Changes settings are not persistent as described above, then there are four potential reasons. First, there could be a macro on your system that is changing the settings in some way. For instance, you could have a macro that runs when you start Word or when you open a document, and this macro could be modifying the settings. You'll need to poke around in your system to see if such a macro could be the culprit.
Secondly, you may have an add-on that is loaded when Word starts, and this add-on is modifying the Track Changes settings. You can inspect your system to see if there are any add-ons, and if there are, disable or delete them to see if the problem is fixed.
Third, it could be that your Word data key is somehow corrupted. (Remember—the Track Changes settings are stored in the Registry.) This is easy enough to fix using the Registry Editor, as described in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
Fourth, if you are using Word in a corporate, networked environment, there could be some startup script that is executed every time Word is started. It is possible for such a script to "reset" the Track Changes settings to a predetermined state. If this describes your Word setup, then you'll need to talk with your network administrator to see if such a script is in place. If the script cannot be changed, then you may want to create your own macro to make the settings changes you want to see. The following is an example of such a macro:
Sub TrackOptions() With Options .InsertedTextMark = wdInsertedTextMarkUnderline .InsertedTextColor = wdBlue .DeletedTextMark = wdDeletedTextMarkStrikeThrough .DeletedTextColor = wdByAuthor .RevisedPropertiesMark = wdRevisedPropertiesMarkColorOnly .RevisedPropertiesColor = wdBrightGreen .RevisedLinesMark = wdRevisedLinesMarkOutsideBorder .RevisedLinesColor = wdAuto .CommentsColor = wdByAuthor .RevisionsBalloonPrintOrientation = wdBalloonPrintOrientationPreserve End With End Sub
This macro should obviously be modified to reflect the settings you want to see on your system. You could then set the macro up so that it runs every time you start Word.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10969) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Setting Default Options for Track Changes.
Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!
The Track Changes feature in Word is very handy when you need to see what edits are made to a document. Using a macro, ...Discover More
Track Changes is a great tool; it allows you to see what changes were made in a document and then determine whether you ...Discover More
When using Track Changes, Word normally notes the originator of a particular comment or change. This information can then ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
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.
Visit the WordTips channel on YouTube