Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. 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: Pasting Text with Track Changes.

Pasting Text with Track Changes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 2, 2013)


One of the Word features commonly used by editors is the Track Changes feature. You may have need, from time to time, to copy text from one document to another and retain the change marks in the text being copied. For instance, if the text in the source document has some words struck through and some others highlighted as inserts, you may want the text to appear the same way in the target document.

Getting the desired results is not a matter of simply cutting and pasting. Here are the explicit steps you should follow to get the desired results:

  1. In the source document, select the text you want to copy.
  2. Make sure that Track Changes is turned off in the source document. (If you don't do this, Word assumes you want to copy the text as if all the changes in the selection were accepted.)
  3. Press Ctrl+C to copy the text to the Clipboard, or Ctrl+X to cut the text.
  4. In the target document, place the insertion point where you want the text inserted.
  5. Make sure that Track Changes is turned off in the target document.
  6. Press Ctrl+V to paste the text from the Clipboard.

Another handy way to copy the text is to use the spike. Word users are so familiar with using the Clipboard to cut, copy, and paste information that we often forget about the spike. This is an area of Word that acts like a secondary Clipboard, with some significant differences. (You can learn more about the spike in other issues of WordTips or in Word's online Help.) To use the spike to copy and paste text with Track Changes markings intact, follow these steps:

  1. In the source document, select the text you want to copy.
  2. Press Ctrl+F3. The text is cut from the document and placed on the spike. (If you wanted to copy, not cut, then immediately press Ctrl+Z to undo the cut. The selected text still remains on the spike.)
  3. In the target document, place the insertion point where you want the text inserted.
  4. Make sure that Track Changes is turned off in the target document.
  5. Press Shift+Ctrl+F3 to clear the spike and insert the spike's text into your document.

That's it!

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11254) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Pasting Text with 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 8 - 2?

2017-06-10 15:32:33


Thank you! Just the advice I needed.

2016-07-27 06:20:55


Question: is it possible to programmatically (VBA) export Word track-changed text into Excel without losing the formatting (underline=insertion,strikethrough=deletion)? I think it should be because when I 'manually' copy from Word and paste into Excel, the formatting is preserved. But when I try this with VBA I haven't succeeded. I've been able to export revisions into a table in a new Word doc (a new row for each revision)and keep the track-changes, but haven't been able to replicate this in Excel

2016-06-27 07:25:07


/this tip is working just great/

Thank you!

I couldn't figure out why sometimes I can't paste the text with track changes. I honestly thought it was a glitch and so was the rest of the team.

I feel like a dummy, but a dummy who's learning.

Greetings from Poland!

2016-05-27 23:18:22


Thank you so much!!! These tips are all i need now when dealing with track change. They are so useful. Thank you so much!!!
many thanks from Vietnam :)

2016-05-13 05:30:19

Mr. Kwok

Thank you, Sir! An easy solution to a basic problem.

2016-04-16 07:12:00


Thanks a lot

2016-02-12 02:14:00


Thanks so much, such a help!

2016-02-03 02:07:58


Thank you so much

2015-08-27 12:55:54


thanks mate

2015-07-01 04:42:28


Thanks! A big help.

2015-06-09 05:00:29


txs for the tip...

sorry.... but when I press ctrl+f3 I get all my text "striketrough"... or I get my doc all clean/blank, with only a new number line... (either I turn on/off the track feature)...

I am using word 2010... so maybe I´m doing smtg wrong...

2015-05-20 11:58:39


Very useful information, thanks a lot

2015-02-23 03:11:17


Thanks.. It was very helpful

2015-01-21 06:48:17


hi .... what about copying data from other sites , can we paste on other sites after some changes ... is it posible ???????? please reply soon

2015-01-15 22:37:52


What about copying and pasting track changes to something that is not a word document?

2014-12-02 23:29:30


Fantastic tip, thank you. I've often wanted to be able to do this but never worked out how.

2014-11-03 16:10:02


This worked to paste with track changes, but I needed it to keep the numbering (copying certain sections from a specification) and it didn't do that. Normally I paste special and choose unformatted text but that keeps the numbering but not the tracked changes. Any way to do both?

2014-09-09 21:38:03


Hi! This was an excellent tip, but I found that after about doing this with 4 documents, the ctrl + shift + F3 paste option no longer worked. I checked to make sure "all reviewers" was selected within the documents I was trying to compile, and everything checked out.

Is there any reason that this would randomly stop working? Or should I check some other hidden review text?


2014-09-03 23:01:42


Thanks, it's very helpful!

2014-08-01 11:21:28


I, too, ran into not getting it to work and then found that in the Review tab, under Show Markup selection, you have to make sure that "All Reviewers" are checked and uncheck any reviewers that are listed in both the target document and the source document. Then I was able to get this to work in existing document. New documents work without an issueas it is in default mode.

2014-07-17 20:43:07


this did not work AT ALL. i do not know why these other people are grateful or why you even bothered to write this "tip" down. i remain frustrated.

2014-03-20 11:28:47


Greatings from Sweden. This tip made my day! Thanks!

2014-02-13 18:46:28


Thanks! This was so easy to find when I had a question.

2013-11-05 23:49:25


Thanks!!! Turning off the track changes in my source .doc allowed me to copy the tracked changes to my excel doc.

2012-02-06 11:24:16


I've been a software trainer for almost 20 years. Thought I knew a ton, but I just discovered the Spike feature in your tip. Thanks much!

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