Locking Track Changes On

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated July 22, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


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Katy edits documents and send them to authors, who sometimes turn off Track Changes and thereby introduce errors. Since Katy is responsible for quality control, she would like to prevent them turning off track changes. They need to be able to add or delete text, but Katy wants to know about it, so she is wondering if there is a setting somewhere that can help.

Actually, there is a setting you can use for this, and you can get to it in two different ways. The first method is implemented by following these steps:

  1. Display the Review tab of the ribbon.
  2. Click the Protect Document tool within the Protect group (in Word 2013 and Word 2016, it's the Restrict Editing tool). Word displays the Protect Document pane (Word 2007 and Word 2010) or the Restrict Editing pane (Word 2013 and later versions) at the right side of your document.
  3. In the Editing Restrictions section of the pane, choose the Allow Only This Type of Editing In the Document checkbox. Word enables the drop-down list under the checkbox.
  4. Using the drop-down list to choose the Tracked Changes option.
  5. Click Yes, Start Enforcing Protection. Word displays the Start Enforcing Protection dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  6. Figure 1. The Start Enforcing Protection dialog box.

  7. Enter a password (twice) in the dialog box. (The password is important if you don't want others easily bypassing your restrictions.)
  8. Click on OK.
  9. Save the file as normal.

That's it. Track Changes will now remain on until the protection is later removed.

The second way to enable the same protection is by following these steps:

  1. Display the Review tab of the ribbon.
  2. In the Tracking group, click the Track Changes tool. Word displays three options in a drop-down list.
  3. Select the Lock Tracking option. Word displays the Lock Tracking dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  4. Figure 2. The Lock Tracking dialog box.

  5. Enter a password (twice) in the dialog box. (The password is important if you don't want others easily bypassing your restrictions.)
  6. Click on OK.
  7. Save the file as normal.

Finally, you can (if you desire) simply bypass Track Changes altogether. When you send a document off to another person to check and/or edit (such as to an author), simply keep a copy of what you send. When you get the document back from the other person, do a file comparison between the two and then you can see exactly what changes were made. (File comparisons are done by displaying the Compare tool on the Review tab of the ribbon.)

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13903) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

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 5 - 0?

2023-07-24 11:51:51

Marcelol

Hey, have you ever thought about presenting these tips in videos?
The texts are good, but they can be tiresome to read and require us to keep the program open.


2023-07-22 20:31:46

MW

I was excited to read this Tip, because occasionally, I want to make sure the recipient doesn't make changes he or she hasn't flagged. As in: "Trust, but Verify" (PS: see Ronald Reagan vs Mikhail Gorbachev at the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in 1988).

So, I tested the instructions in Word. They worked Great! :)

But . . . if you take the locked/protected Word document, print it to a PDF, then export that PDF back into Word . . . the locking protections (and Track Changes) are erased.

Not so great :(

So be aware of that potential side-step.


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