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: Pasting Text with Track Changes.

Pasting Text with Track Changes

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated February 17, 2024)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


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, 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: 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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