The track changes feature in Word has been flummoxing people around for the world for years now. Maybe you’ve even been one of them? Have you ever wondered where all the different colored comment and weird formatting in a document came from? And more importantly how to get rid of it? If so, you’ve come to the right place to get the answer.
When someone turns on the Track Changes feature, Word records and denotes every change made to the document from that point forward. This is very helpful when collaborating on documents but it can also get activated accidentally and create some confusion when people see the results of a ‘red lined’ document like this one.
With all those revision marks, you might have trouble making sense of what should stay versus what should go, right? Well Word actually makes it very easy to see a document in its original and final forms without having to save multiple versions or even leave the document.
Change the display for review
When you get one of these documents with the revision marks displayed it’s easy to see only what you want by choosing the correct display options. Your options are:
1. Final version showing the markups
2. Final version without the markups
3..Original version showing the markups
4. Original version without the markups
Be careful! The document still contains those revisions
Just because you changed the display and can’t see all the edits doesn’t mean they aren’t still there. It’s very important to know that changing the view does not get rid of track changes. If you send it out that way the recipients can redisplay all the comments, edits, etc and depending on what those are…that could be very BAD.
To remove all those edits from the documents you should accept/reject all the changes. The commands to accept and reject document changes are right next to Track Changes; you can accept or reject each change or all of the changes in the document..
For more details about Display for Review and removing unwanted revision marks from your document, check out the blog post: Turn Track Changes off or on, or hide or reveal tracked changes.
Can I have it BOTH ways?
If you want to preserve revision marks or comments in a document, and you want to share the document without others seeing the revisions and comments, the best solution is to keep separate copies of the document: one for distribution and one for yourself. In the public version of the document, accept or reject all revision marks and delete all comments, as described in this article. In the private version of the document, you can leave the revisions and comments in place.
If you’d like to learn more and make use of Word’s Document Reviewing capabilities check out this good overview article.
Do you use this feature in Word? Could it help with your document reviews? Love it? Hate it? Got any better ideas? Let me know.