Making Simple Markup the Default for Track Changes

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated March 28, 2020)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


Shuna works as an editor and a tutor in editing and proofreading. Many of her learners are bemused by Track Changes because "All Markup" is the default display setting. This makes it unnecessarily difficult for them to work with all the clutter onscreen. Shuna wonders if there is a way to change the default from "All Markup" to "Simple Markup."

Track Changes is one of those interesting features in Word that exhibits what is called "persistence." This can, however, be a bit confusing to users. You can see persistence in action by following these steps:

  1. Open a document in Word.
  2. Change the Track Changes settings so they reflect how you want to work with the feature. (For instance, you can change from "All Markup" to "Simple Markup" display.)
  3. Save the document.
  4. Get out of Word entirely.

Now, if you open a different document in Word, your settings (from step 2) should be in force. In other words, they were persistent across sessions with Word. However, if you later change the Track Changes settings and save the document (you are performing steps 2 and 3), then those changes are remembered for your next session with Word.

The only way to get your settings to be exactly like you want them, every time you start Word, is to create a macro that is run every time you start the program. You can do this by editing your Normal template and adding the following to it:

Sub AutoOpen()
    With ActiveWindow.View.RevisionsFilter
        .Markup = wdRevisionsMarkupSimple
        .View = wdRevisionsViewFinal
    End With
End Sub

With this macro in place, every time you open a document the "Simple Markup" display option will be invoked for any changes.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13752) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365.

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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