How to Use Revisions in Word 2019 - dummies

How to Use Revisions in Word 2019

By Dan Gookin

All good writers should enjoy feedback. Still, I’d like to know what’s been done to my text, not only to see the effect but also to learn something. Word’s revision-tracking tools make such a review possible.

How to compare two versions of a Microsoft Word document

You have the original copy of your document — the stuff you wrote. You also have the copy that Brianne, the soulless automaton from the legal department, has worked over. Your job is to compare them to see exactly what’s been changed from the original. Here’s what to do:

  1. Click the Review tab.
  2. In the Compare group, choose Compare →  Compare.
    The Compare Documents dialog box shows up.
  3. Choose the original document from the Original Document drop-down list.
    The list shows recently opened or saved documents. Choose one, or use the Browse item to summon the Open dialog box and hunt down the document.
  4. Choose the edited document from the Revised Document drop-down list.
    Choose the document from the list, or use the Browse item to locate the changed, altered, or mangled document.
  5. Click OK.

Word compares the two documents. The changes are displayed in a quadruple-split window, as illustrated. This presentation is actually a third document, titled Compare Result.

word2019-changes-display
The shameful changes show up here.

Look it over! Peruse the changes made to your pristine prose by the barbarian interlopers: Scrolling is synchronized between all three documents: original, edited, and compared. Click a change in the reviewing pane (shown on the left) to quickly see which part of your document was folded, spindled, or mutilated.

  • Changed text is highlighted in two ways: Added text is underlined. Removed text is shown in strikethrough style.
  • You can confirm or reject the changes in the Compare Result document, just as you would when tracking changes manually.

How to tracking changes as they’re made in Microsoft Word

word2019-track-changes

To be a kind and gentle collaborator, activate Word’s Tracking feature before you make changes to someone else’s text: Click the Review tab, and in the Tracking group, click the Track Changes button, shown in the margin. From that point on, any changes made to the document are color coded based on who is making the changes and what level of markup is displayed:

  • For Simple Markup, a color-coded bar appears to the left of a paragraph, indicating that a change was made.
  • For All Markup, new text is color coded, depending on who made the changes. Added text appears underlined, and deleted text appears as strikethrough. These text highlights are called revision marks. They are not text-formatting attributes.
  • For No Markup, the changes are tracked but not displayed in the document. This is a great setting to choose for the least amount of distraction. (The revision marks can be seen by choosing All Markup instead of No Markup.)

Word continues to track changes and edits in the document until you turn off Track Changes. To do so, click the Track Changes button again.

Although the Track Changes button appears highlighted while the feature is active, a better way to check — and use — this feature is to activate the Track Settings option on the status bar. To set this option, right-click the status bar and choose Track Changes. As a bonus, you can click this item on the status bar to activate or deactivate revision marks in the document.

How to review changes in Microsoft Word

After your poor, limp document is returned to you, the best way to review the damage inflicted is to use the commands on the Review tab, located in the Changes group. These commands are illustrated here; depending on the window size, you may or may not see text explaining what each one does.

word2019-reviewing-changes
Buttons for reviewing changes.

To review changes throughout the document, click the Next or Previous buttons. Click a button to hop from one change in the text to the next change.

Click the Accept button when you tolerate the change. To reject a change, click the Reject button. After clicking either button, you instantly see the next change in the document, until all the changes are dealt with.

  • The Accept and Reject buttons host menus with commands that accept or reject all changes in your document in one fell swoop. The only thing missing is the “swoop!” sound when you use these commands.
  • You can view a summary of changes by summoning the Revisions pane: On the Review tab, in the Tracking group, click the Reviewing Pane button. The Revisions pane doesn’t show the changes in context, but it lists each one. Click an item in the Revisions pane to hop to each change in the document.
  • To see changes in the text, ensure that you choose the All Markup command from the Display for Review menu button.
  • When you goof while approving or rejecting a change, press Ctrl+Z to undo.
  • You can also right-click any revision mark to accept or reject it.