What Is Track Changes? An Editor’s Best Friend


This article explains what is Track Changes in Microsoft Word. Track Changes are the best feature in Word. Found under the Review tab, this icon is an editor’s best friend. These allow us to see the changes that we have made, as well as allowing the client to review and choose the changes they would like. Why is this so special you may ask – this blog will tell you why.

This is an example of the Track Changes work. The black is the original text and the changes can easily be seen in red (it doesn’t have to be red – it can be many different colors). The line at the left-hand side of the page also shows the reader in which lines changes have been made, and this is useful where only minor changes, such as a comma, have been made in a paragraph.

Rosy was a little girl, who wore red ribbons in her hair and liked to wear dresses.

So here, you can easily see where the changes have been made and the types of changes made. As an editor, this is great because when we come back and reread the document and decide that the change that we made actually wasn’t all that great – we can just select reject change and the original text appears. So Track Changes allows us, as editors to keep track of what we have and haven’t changed.

If you want to know more about Track Changes while you edit, visit this website office.microsoft.com, as it will give lots of useful hints and advice on what to expect. It also shows you exactly where in Word the Track Changes icon is found.

Some manuscripts that we get need many changes, and the client may get a shock when they see the sea of color that greets them as they open their edited document. In these cases, I normally write a comment to the client explaining why all the changes and comments. The opposite also rings true. We also get manuscripts where hardly any changes need to be made because it is already so well-written. In these cases, we will also write a note saying that we only made changes where absolutely necessary as the text was so good. Track Changes again is very useful here for prompting the editor to know what changes have been made and if there is a comment, then why.

Under the Track Changes tab, you will also see an option that says “Final Showing Markup”. When this option is showing, then the Track Changes can be seen. If you then change it to “Final”, the final document with all the changes will be seen but as a ‘clean’ version; that is, with no red marks on it. There are two other options: “Original Showing Markup” and “Original”. These show the original document with and without the changes. You can toggle between these to compare the new and old versions of the document. These are useful for seeing formatting changes to the manuscript.

Track Changes is vital in letting our clients know where we have made changes their text and it allows them to see whether they are making the same mistake over – whether in grammar or spelling – and then to see the correct spelling or grammar. So Track Changes can also be a learning tool for the client as by seeing the changes that have been made in their manuscript, they should know not the repeat these mistakes in further documents.

So, Track Changes is invaluable as it has so many good uses that editors and clients cannot live without it!

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