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Tracking Changes PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bernie Vincent   
Friday, 15 September 2006

Tracking changes in important document is something that legal practices, for example, use frequently. You may find that some of the features are equally useful on private documents.
 
Comments:
 
Comments are useful when you want someone else to comment on a Word document. Imagine that you have drafted a document and have asked someone else to review it. You may want to bring specific points to his or her attention. Or you may be the reviewer and want to pass comment on some parts of the document. Rather than print it and scribble all over it, or use yellow sticky notes you can add your comments to the document.
 
Here is how to do it.
 
Click the LEFT mouse button and hold it down, then drag over the text to comment on. Release the mouse button.
 
Click Insert, then Comment to open the Comment pane
 
Type your comment
 
To finish, click Close
 
The text is highlighted in yellow[1] to indicate that there is a comment.
 
Place the mouse pointer over the highlighted text to see the comment.
 
To Edit a comment, click the RIGHT mouse button over the highlighted text, then click Edit Comment.
 
To Delete a comment, click the RIGHT mouse button over the highlighted text, then click Delete Comment.
 
Tracking Changes:
 
Using Comments is fine to make observations about text in a document. However, if you want to make changes then using Track Changes is a better option.
 
With Track Changes turned on you edit a document as normal, but Word keeps track of all the changes you (or someone else) makes. You then decide which changes to accept and which to reject.
 
There are a number of ways to turn Track Changes on, or off. The easiest is to double click on the TRK button in the status bar (at the bottom of your screen, just above the taskbar). You can use TOOLS from the top menu and then TRACK CHANGES, or you can select press Ctrl+Shift+E.
 
To try this out, create a Word document with a few lines of text. Turn Track Changes on and begin to edit your document. You will see that any text that you add appears in red and is underlined. (It may actually appear in another colour if you are not the first person to review a document).
 
If you delete any text it will remain visible but it will be in red and will have strikethrough applied. Whenever a change is made to the text, a vertical line will appear in the left or right margin, depending on your page set-up settings. This makes the changes easier to find, particularly if the document has been printed.
 
To accept or reject the changes made click on Tools, Track Changes then Accept or Reject Changes.
 
Merging Documents:
 
If you have sent several copies of the same file for review by several people then you will receive several marked up copies in return. You can use the Merge Documents feature to integrate all the changes into one document.
 
To do this open the original file. Choose Tools, the Merge Documents.
 
Select the file that you want to merge into the current document and click on Open. Repeat these steps for each file you want to incorporate. The single document that you now have can then be merged into one in an organised fashion.
 
Note: The Merge Documents feature only merges tracked changes.
 
Comparing Documents:
 
If you have asked someone to review a document, but forgot to turn on Track Changes first then all is not lost. Assuming that you still have the original file then you can use the Compare Documents feature. This will give you a document with all the changes marked up.
 
To do this:
 
Open the document where you want the changes marked.
 
Choose Tools, Track Changes, then Compare Documents.

Choose the file that you want to compare with then open file. Click Open.
 

 
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