I was doing L.A Traffic Hell yesterday, on my way to work, thinking about the Track Changes feature in Microsoft Word. (Really, I was. I’m a software geek…we think about this stuff.)
Track Changes is a MUST for writers. It really eases the editing process for us. Especially during those fights with our critique partners about paragraph-long sentences, head-hopping and whether the phrase, “smooth, like a baby barracuda” really conveys “sexy.”
We’ll leave the authors snickering on the floor for a moment and move on to the business people – the ones I’ve been training for the last fifteen years.
When I bring this feature up in class, 50% of you say, “Excuse me, Track what?” The other 50% of you cheer and say, “Thank God I’m going to finally learn to use that.”
NOTE: All of you who have questions you are afraid to ask “because they’re stupid, ill-timed, embarrassing, etc”…can you please go here and pay special attention to #3? Ask the freaking questions when you have them and stop worrying that others know stuff you don’t. You know things that they don’t. So what?
OK, back from PetPeeveVille…and on to Track Changes.
This is the feature in Word that lets you trade input on your Word documents, back and forth, like a big OCD ping-pong ball, until it is just right.
Here’s the nitty-gritty on how to use it. (If you’re already a Track Changes pro, bless you. You can scroll to the end of the post knowing that you make my trainer’s heart sing.)
Using Track Changes:
- In Word 2007 or later, click on the Review tab (earlier versions, go to the Tools menu). The Tracking subgroup is in the middle of this Ribbon and the first button is Track Changes.This button has two parts:
a. the top half (picture) simply turns Track Changes on
b. the bottom half (text) has choices about how you’d like to Track (see below)
- Once Track Changes is active, edit your document as needed.
- You will know which areas of the document have changes from the line that is visible in the left margin.
Additionally, you will see crossed-out text and formatting comments which are referenced in the right-hand margin.
Note: you can choose which changes to show by using the Show Markup button in the Tracking subgroup (see below):
The Display for Review button in the Tracking subgroup of the Review Ribbon allows you to choose how to review any proposed changes to the document. There are four viewing options, as shown in the drop-down list below:
- Final Showing Markup – final document, with proposed changes (this is the default view displayed)
- Final – shows the document with all proposed changes included
- Original Showing Markup – original document, with proposed changes
- Original – shows the document as it was before any changes were made
Note: If you just want to VIEW the final document, rather than accept or reject any changes, click on the arrow to the right of the Display for Review button and choose “Final” from the drop-down list.
To Accept Someone Else’s Changes
There are two ways to do this:
- Go to each proposed change and right-click your mouse. A shortcut menu will appear on your screen giving you the choice to Accept or Reject each change.
- Go to the Changes subgroup on the Review Ribbon (just to the right of the Tracking subgroup).
- The Next and Previous buttons will navigate you to each proposed change in the document.
- To quickly accept all changes to a document (as you would when receiving a critique from Yours Truly), click the arrow on the Accept button and choose to Accept All Changes in Document.
Note: Be sure to turn Track Changes off if you are done making changes to this document or you’ll keep tracking! It’s really beyond annoying when you do that.
OK, there you have it… Geek time’s over till next Techie Tuesday.
In the meantime, please do comment and let me know if this was helpful or if I need to keep my inner nerd leashed next week. I can hold back. Really, I can. (I just don’t like to.)
See you soon,