Editing in Word 2007: Track Changes and Review

Writing is a lonely art . . . that is, until editors show up. They'll make revisions by adding to your carefully written work, moving stuff around, and deleting text (ouch!). There's no way to identify your original text from the modified text — unless you use Word 2007's Track Changes tool.

Tracking changes as you make them

To note changes on the screen as they're made, simply activate Word's revision-tracking feature: Click the Review tab and then click the Track Changes button. The keyboard shortcut is Ctrl+Shift+E.

With revision tracking turned on, simply start editing the document. Any new text you add appears in red underlining. Text you delete is colored red with strikethrough. (Those aren't really text attributes, but rather are Word showing you which text has been messed with.

To turn off revision tracking, click the Track Changes button again.

  • The only clue that you've properly activated revision tracking is that the Track Changes button appears highlighted.
  • It's common for Word users not familiar with revision tracking to be frustrated with unexpected red-underlined text. This is simply revision tracking, which someone has enabled. To disable it, click the Track Changes button in the Review tab's Tracking group.

Reviewing the changes

It's understood that you want to scrutinize every change made to your document. Word makes the task easy, thanks to commands in the Changes group found on the Review tab. Here's how things go:

1. Press Ctrl+Home to start at the top of the document.

Ensure that you're looking at the compared document, not the original or edited version (refer to the preceding section).

2. Click the Next button to locate the next change in your document.

To accept the change, click the Accept button. The change is approved, and you're taken to the next bit of modified text. Or:

To reject the change, click the Reject button. The change is removed from your document, and you're taken to the next location where text has been modified.

3. Save the final document.

When you've found the last change and fixed it (or not), a dialog box explains that your quest is over. The document has been reviewed. You should now save it to disk by giving it a new name so that you know it's the result of combined efforts.

Going through this process removes all the revision marks from your document. Here are a few more pointers to keep in mind:

  • Use the X buttons to close various task panes that are open for the reviewing process.
  • When you're in a real hurry, you can use the drop-down menus beneath either the Accept or Reject command button to choose either the Accept All Changes in Document or Reject All Changes in Document commands, respectively.
  • When you goof, you can choose Edit --> Undo, just as you can undo any other boo-boo.
  • You can right-click any revision mark to accept or reject it.
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