If you ever need to edit a document of any sort including a contract or agreement and want your changes and comments to standout, the Track Changes feature in Word 2010 has no equal… Really. It’s that good. If you’re an attorney or contract specialist, you probably already know this from previous versions of Word but if not, pay close attention and let me introduce you to the Track Changes feature of Word 2010 found on the Review Tab of the Ribbon.
Step 1 – Starting Content
To start out, you need some initial content. This can be something that you’ve written or perhaps you’re a teacher so grab one of your students papers you need to edit. Track changes will look at ALL changes done to a document so you can be as creative as you like with your content.
Step 2 – Enable Track Changes
Select the Review tab and then Click Track Changes.
Step 3 – Edit
Start your engines! Now you can edit the document as much as you like and the edits will be shown with a colored markup. These edits aren’t considered permanent at this point, but they will be saved with the document until they are “Accepted” or “Rejected.”
Step 4 – Comments & Additional Editing Tools
Adding comments is an easy way to communicate points that need clarification or just a general comment. Comments will appear on the side of the document but won’t appear in the final draft. To Add a comment, Select a portion of the document and then Click New Comment.* A box will appear on the right-side that you can type in to convey a particular message to concerning the editing.
*Note that format changes such as adding bold, italic, underline, etc… will result in an automatically created Comment labeled Formatted.
You can also add Balloons, which are system generated comments that will display editing actions taken on each part of the document. Showing revisions in balloons is my is actually my preferred method for editing and reviewing documents. These balloons will change depending upon whether you are viewing the “Final: Show Markup” or the “Original: Show Markup”. To do this Click Show Markup > Balloons > Show Revisions in Balloons.
Step 5 – Edit As A Different Author
The color that markups will appear will depend on which author (editor) number you are of the document. The first editor will have red markup, the second will have blue, and so on. The identity of the editor is determined by the User Name associated with the Office 2010 install. You can change this if you Click Track Changes > Change User Name…
If you edit a document and then change your own user name, Word will consider you an entirely different author and you can then edit the document using multiple colored markups. If you do this you need to remember the exact user name you used for each color because using anything different will just create a new author (and color).
Step 6 – Accept Or Reject Changes
With the document fully edited you are ready to start accepting or rejecting changes. There are two different places to do this; the Review ribbon Accept button, or the Right-Click context menu option.
Additionally, from the ribbon you can skip ahead and Accept All Changes in Document to completely to instantly change the document according to all of the markup.
Step 7 – Compare Or Combine Documents
You can use the Compare tool to view documents side-by-side and see what differences there are between them. This will work with ANY two documents, but it is only really useful for documents that are similar or have been modified. Below I loaded both the original version and the finished revised version for comparison.
The comparison window is huge, but it will display every difference and will automatically open the Reviewing Pane to help you track changes easier.
The Review ribbon in Office 2010 is a useful tool for collaboration, writing and editing. In Word 2010, the Track Changes tool is especially useful and a must have for anyone who needs to edit a document and track changes / revisions. Its change tracking is concise, easy to see, understand and apply.