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How to Use Track Changes in Microsoft Word Documents and Turn it On or Off
Almanac Team
Almanac Team
min read

Collaboration–though often offline–has been an essential integration in Microsoft Word. Using track changes allows teams to review, suggest, and comment on each other’s different edits to improve their overall workflow. While this feature can be helpful for yourself, ideally it’s designed with collaboration for multiple authors in mind.  

Such a tool allows for collaboration no matter where your teammates are. Using tracked changes on Microsoft follows your team’s progress in real-time, meaning you and your team can follow whatever changes anyone makes to create better discussion on any potential changes one makes to the document.

What are track changes?

Integrated into Microsoft Word and other word processing platforms like Almanac, track changes allows you and your team to review changes that have been made to a document.

This feature provides your team with better visibility of the different changes suggested or completed in a document, making the editing and finalizing process easier to understand and manage. 

Can you turn track changes on and off in Microsoft Word?

Definitely! Tracked changes can easily be toggled in Microsoft Word. This provides users with flexibility on how they want to work with a document. We’ll go over how to do so below. 

In addition, users can also choose to switch off these track changes by enabling document protection for added security purposes.

How to use track changes in Microsoft Word

This guide features an in-depth tutorial on how to maximize the use of tracked changes in Microsoft Word. We touch on toggling the feature on and off, using the comment and suggestion feature, accepting and rejecting changes, hiding changes, and much more.

How to turn track changes on

First, click on the Review tab located in the ribbon right below the top most panel.

Then, click on the track changes button which you’ll find on the Tracking group. To know if you’ve turned it on, it should be the only option highlighted in the ribbon.

How to turn tracked changes off 

In order to turn this feature off, click the button which you’ll find in the Tracking group. You’ll know if it is turned off when it isn’t grayed out anymore.

How to accept or reject tracked changes 

In order to finalize an edit using tracked changes, they must first be accepted. There are different ways to accept or reject these edits in your document. You can either do this individually or all at the same time. Below, you can find three different methods to do this task.

First Option - Individually Accept or Reject Different Edits

Right-click on the text you want to accept or reject. Then, in the shortcut menu, click accept or reject.

Second Option - Individually Accept or Reject Edits from Ribbon

For the second method, select the text you want to edit. Then, click either accept or reject accordingly. 

Third Option - Mass Accept or Reject Edits (All)

If you’re part of a team, you may think twice about having to accept or reject all edits at once. Accepting or rejecting should be done with caution so as to not have to go back and make any additional edits.

Located in the Changes group, click on the Accept or Reject arrows.

Then, on the pop-up menu, click on either Accept/Reject All Changes or Accept/Reject All Changes and Stop Tracking

How to insert, reply, and delete comments in Microsoft Word

Commenting on a part of your document can be a great way to relay some feedback to other members of your team. You and your team can comment either insert, reply, or delete these comments as you work, making real-time collaboration easier. 

Inserting Comments

Similar to Google Docs, the comment tool is independent of tracked changes. Commenting is still possible even with tracked changes turned off.

First Option - In-text Commenting

Highlight the text you want to comment on, then right-click so that a shortcut menu can appear. After which, select New Comment. 

Next, simply type your comments onto the comment bubble that popped up.

Second Option - Commenting through the Ribbon

While highlighting the text you want to comment on, click on New Comment from the Comments Group under the Review tab. Your cursor will lead you to a comment bubble wherein you can type your desired suggestions.

Replying to Comments

In the comment bubble, you can also choose to reply to the different comments placed on your document. This creates a discussion within your team allowing for a better work environment.

First Option - In-text Replying

In the document, right-click on the text attached to a comment you want to reply to. Next, in the pop-up menu, click Reply to Comment. After Choosing Reply To Comment, you will be led to a comment bubble right under the comment you wished to reply to.

Second Option - Replying/Resolving through comment bubble

A more seamless way to reply to a comment is to do it directly through the comment bubble. Simply select the comment then click on the reply button. Similar to the first option, you will be led to a new comment bubble below the comment you’re going to reply to.

Deleting Comments

If you wish to delete comments, there are three ways to do this. Either you can do this individually or all at the same time depending on what you want to do.

First Option - Individually Delete Comments through Pop-up Menu

First, you can either right-click on the text attached to the comment or the comment bubble. Afterward, click on Delete Comment in the following pop-up menu.

Second Option - Individually Delete Comments through Ribbon

After selecting the comment bubble, you may either click on the Reject button which you will find in the changes group, or the Delete button as seen in the Comments group.

Third Option -
Mass Delete Comments

Deleting all the comments can be done under the comments group found in the Ribbon under the review tab. To do this, click on the Delete arrow which creates a drop-down menu. From there, select Delete All Comments.

How to hide all changes and comments

Another neat feature of Tracked Changes is the ability to control the manner in which different edits and comments appear. Done by using the Show Markup menus found in the Tracking group within the Ribbon, you can toggle the different options however you like.

To do this, click on the Display for Review drop-down menu. Here you will find different ways you can choose to display the different comments and edits in your document.

The first option available to you is Simple Markup. This provides you with the information on the edited version of the content. However, the in-line edits that you would typically see would be invisible. In place of these, a vertical line will act as an indicator on the left side of the paper.

For those who want to see all the edits actively at all times, the All Markup option is best. It is also good if you’re looking to proofread the rest of the document in the most efficient way possible.

On the other hand, No Markup shows no visible edits or comments. Only the edited version of the document will be shown in this option. 

Lastly, the Original option only displayed the original version free of any additional changes, comments, and other edits.

Microsoft Word Document Track Changes FAQs 

Why can I not turn off tracked changes in Microsoft Word? 

If for whatever reason you can’t turn off Tracked Changes in Microsoft Word, the document you’re editing may have some document protection enabled. To fix this, go to the tools menu then click on Protect Document. Here, under protection, you can remove Protect the Document by entering the passcode. Only then can you disable the tracked changes.

How do you finalize a Word document after tracked changes? 

Using tracked changes is an excellent way to finalize your Word document. Simply Accept or Reject the changes accordingly after carefully reviewing each edit and comment. It’s best to do this one at a time as you go through the document.

What is the reviewing pane in Microsoft Word? 

You can access all the different comments and edits through the Reviewing Pane. Found in the Show Markup drop-down menu, other information such as the total number of markups and comments as well as who made those edits is also displayed. 

Make Tracking Changes Easier with Almanac 

While tracking changes in Word is definitely doable, there are other online document editors that make tracking changes a lot easier, as well as offer helpful features like version control, easy sharing, branching versions, merging versions, and more. 

With extensive collaboration features for tracking changes, working with your team is made easy. Not only is it an excellent online document storage solution for corporations, an efficient note-taking app for work, and a powerful knowledge management system but it’s also a great tool for async collaboration. 

Whether you’re requesting reviews, approvals, and comments on different information placed on the document, Almanac allows for a seamless experience between the different users. 

Focused on transparency, every single edit, comment, task, and activity is visible to different members if your team chooses to do so. This transparency provides an easy-to-use user experience wherein no one gets lost in the process. 

Aside from being transparent and easy to use, Almanac offers in-depth features that will help track your team's overall performance. As a productivity tool, it not only helps you but a whole team in optimizing whatever your team wishes to accomplish. 

Almanac Features

  • Review and Approval Requests
  • Branch and Merge
  • Doc Insights
  • Activity Feed
  • Version History
  • Share with Read Receipts
  • Tasks
  • Version Control
  • And Much More!

Conclusion: Try Track Changes with Almanac 

While there are many options out there that offer tracked changes, Almanac’s extensive features that emphasize transparency and detail are top-tier. Whether you’re a remote team or you’re working on your own, you need to be precise when making changes and edits to your documents. 

To learn more about Almanac’s take on tracked changes and other features, get started with a free account today!

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