Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Word Tip Wednesday: Track Changes

This is one of my favorite features in Word. Discovering Track Changes has saved me so much time. I can't believe I used to do my crits without it.

It's very simple to use. Just go to the Review tab* and click on the top half of the Track Changes button. As long as this button is selected, all changes will be tracked and noted within the document. How the changes show on the screen will depend on your settings.

More options are available by clicking the bottom half of the Track Changes button. Click Change User Name to change the name that shows up as the author of all your documents and as the author of any comments you add to a document. (We'll cover comments next week.) To adjust your settings, select Change Tracking Options.

That brings up this screen and you can make changes according to your preferences. These settings are specific to your computer and will only affect the way the Track Changes appear to you.

You can also adjust the way your Track Changes show by clicking the Balloons button and selecting a different option.

I hope this was helpful to some of you. If you have any questions or if my explanation was confusing, please let me know in the comments. And if there's anything specific you'd like me to cover, please let me know. I'm open to any suggestions. :)

More Word tips posts here

*Microsoft Word 2007

Update: In the comments, Sarah Ahiers (Falen) asked, Do you know how to change tracking options on Word 2003?

I've never used Word 2003, but I found this awesome pdf that should help anyone using that version. :)

For more info on using Track Changes and for how to add Comments to your documents, check out this post.


  1. Abby, you are always giving me great MS Word tips! I've even started putting in bookmarks when I edit. ;)


  2. I *love* track changes! Now if only I could get it on my iPad, I'd be in writerly heaven!

  3. Great info. I passed the link to your blog on to my crit group.

  4. Hooray for track changes! You introduced me to it, and I think it's revolutionized my life (or at least my critting).

  5. I also recently discovered track changes and wonder the same thing: how did I do critiquing w/out it???

  6. this is great! I just discovered track changes, like, less than a year ago.
    Question, do you know how to change tracking options on Word 2003? Since it's just located under Tools or as a button and there's no dropdown. Because right now my deletions are set as deleting, and i'd much rather have them as a strikethrough. Also, colors!

  7. I love the track changes feature, but I don't use it on my own manuscripts. I use it when I'm critting other work.

  8. I just started using this feature with my new beta read. I'm still figuring it out but so far so good. Thanks for all the tips. You're a life saver sometimes;)

  9. Abby, you NEVER cease to amaze me! Thanks for taking your time to post stuff like this for us writers! *Hugs*

    ♥.•*¨ Elizabeth ¨*•.♥