Interpreting Tracked Changes

Academic News & Updates

Tracked changes is a feature in Microsoft Word on both Macs and PCs that can be incredibly useful for document editing. However, many people find tracked changes to be confusing or challenging to use. Thus, in this two part blog, we will be reviewing some tips on how to interpret and utilize MS Word’s tracked changes feature.

First, if you have not yet used tracked changes, or if they have not been used in your document, you can go up to the Review tab and click on the Track Changes button to turn them on if you are on PC. On a Mac, you can also go up the Review tab at the top of your page where there will be a Track Changes on/off switch to click. The figure below shows what this looks like in different versions of Word.

If tracked changes have already been used in your document, there will be a red or grey line to the left of your margin wherever changes were made. If the line is grey, you should be able to see the changes either in the lines of text or along your right margin. If that line to the left of your margin is red, you can click on it and your changes will become visible.

Additionally, tracked changes enable you, or anyone reviewing your document, to leave comments in the margins (see the figure below for an example). To leave a comment, make sure your tracked changes are on, and then simply highlight the text you wish to comment on, right click, and select New Comment. If the comment is already there, you can choose to either Reply or Resolve the comment. Replying can be useful if the issue in the comment is not yet resolved. However, if you have resolved it, clicking the Resolve button will remove the comment from the document.

Please be sure to stay tuned for another post covering further tracked changes topics!

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