How-To Track Changes In Word 2010

Track changes and review ribbon In Office 2010If 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.

write in office 2010 word

Step 2 – Enable Track Changes

Select the Review tab and then Click Track Changes.

word 2010 track changes review

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.”

edit changes word 2010

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. add comments in word 2010

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.

change markup balloons word 2010

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

track word 2010 change authors and editors

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).

multiple editors word 2010 office

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.

accept changes and accept all changes or reject them

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.

compare or combine office documents from 2010

The comparison window is huge, but it will display every difference and will automatically open the Reviewing Pane to help you track changes easier.

office 2010 comparison window


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.



  1. Beckyalt

    September 21, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    I’m an attorney and I spend most of my day using revisions tracking on contracts. Does word 2010 give me anything word 2007 doesn’t?

    • MrGroove

      September 21, 2010 at 4:23 pm

      So just did a screen by screen comparison and no… the features have not changed at all between Word 2007 and Word 2010. The ONLY thing I see that’s different is on the ribbon, there is a Balloons button on the ribbon for Word 2007 however on Word 2010 the Balloons button is hidden under the Show Markup drop down button.

      So yeah, NOTHING has changed.

      • Judith A. Fleming

        January 9, 2012 at 10:49 am

        I used Microsoft Word 2010. I am not new to this, however, this is the first time I have lost a document. I wouldn’t mind but it is 6 pages. I usually have the problems when I go to Edit it, it tells me read only.

        Can you help me with this. I understand that it has something to do with the ribbon, if so please tell me exactly what to do to correct it please.

        Thank you.

        Judith A. Fleming

        • Steve Krause

          January 10, 2012 at 2:55 pm

          How exactly did you lose the document? Did you ever save it?

          • Claudia Price

            February 9, 2012 at 11:51 am

            I am desparately trying to change the time stamp in track changes in the 2010 version. My Microsoft default is set as “2/9/12”, but when I hover over the name in a tracked change, it appears as 09/02/12. I’ve checked with Help and can’t find anything. When I sent this same document to a user who has Word 2007, the date format was correct.

          • Henriette Visser

            February 13, 2012 at 12:56 am

            Hi Caudia,
            This has to do with the way your PC records the date. US uses the month, day, year sequence while rest uses european order of first having the day, then the month and then the year. Your PC will display it according to your set up. This is why it will appear as 09/02/2012 on someone else’s PC.

            Sugget you go to control panel and check out the Date/ region and language settings. Then choose the time sequence you want and from then on you will see all the changes will be automatically made. you cannot change the date stamp in Word or in the Review function. It uses the settings you chose when you first installed your software and set up your profile.

            Hope this helped you
            H Visser

  2. joseph

    November 23, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    this is very good document.. can understand every thing clearly

  3. bai

    February 12, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Great document-very helpful. Thank you.

    • MrGroove

      February 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm

      Your very welcome! And welcome to the site!

  4. Sarah

    March 7, 2011 at 8:47 am

    So, I’m using two sets of track changes in a document I’m currently editing. (A copy editor’s and my own.) All is fine (I see my own, and I see the copy editor’s) until I save. When I save, my track changes turn same the same color and user name of the copy editor’s, even though my name is associated with the Microsoft Office install.

    Any clue why this would happen and what I could do to make it stop?


  5. Sarah

    March 7, 2011 at 8:56 am

    Never mind! I figured it out.

    • Sarah

      March 15, 2011 at 9:25 am

      Oh! Sorry about that.

      File > Options > Trust Center > Click the button “Trust Center Settings” > Privacy Options > Under “Document-specific settings” uncheck “Remove personal information from file properties on save.”

      I guess if a document is saved in an earlier version of Word, this box is sometimes checked, which makes the username for all track changes the default “Author.”

      • Colleen

        August 26, 2011 at 7:40 pm

        Very helpful, thanks!

  6. Henry

    March 15, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Please share the answer with the rest of us Thanks!

  7. Jackie

    March 31, 2011 at 8:09 am

    This was very helpful. Thank you for posting!

  8. lo

    July 7, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    is it possible to change (or better) to remove the text “Comment” from a balloon? so that you just have the text of the comment?

  9. Caro

    September 20, 2011 at 9:22 am

    I prefer the balloon presentation for both comments and changes too, but at the moment I have to turn on “Show revisions in balloons” manually every time.

    Can you tell me how to make this the default, in place of the current default, which is “Show only comments and formatting in balloons”?

    Thank you.

    • Carol

      December 8, 2011 at 10:24 am

      I have the same problem. Did you find a work-around? Does anyone know how to make this option permanent?

    • Mike

      February 19, 2012 at 2:40 am

      I had the same problem and it is really annoying to see that the ““Show only comments and formatting in balloons” option disappeared. Why change something that works so nicely???

      The workaround that I found is to disable balloons completely — that way you see ins/del inline. Comments are then shown with a red highlight and a [1]. If you mouse-over a comment you see its text. Right mouse click gives edit comments, but this opens the ugly Review Pane.

      I hope Microsoft will put this option back.

  10. Bob Doyle

    October 3, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    I just finished commenting on a voluminous document and tried to accept changes but nothing happened. I fear I may not have “enabled” track changes before actually making proposed changes. If this is true, is there any way to enable “track changes” so that all comments and proposed changes will not have to be re-typed?

    • Gerry Seymour

      October 24, 2011 at 12:15 pm

      If your changes aren’t showing in highlighted colors, then you didn’t have Track Changes enabled. However, your changes are there – they’re just not highlighted as changes. You only need to use Track Changes where you intend for someone to review (and accept/reject) the changes before they are finalized.

      • Robert

        October 24, 2011 at 2:08 pm

        Tks for taking the time to respond. My sense is that the best way to proceed is to have my “revised” doc serve as the base text and ask reviewers to enable “track changes” and record there comments. I can then incorporate their remarks using the Track changes tool and then manually include my initial comments.

  11. Debrat

    November 29, 2011 at 11:41 am

    Why does my document always open with the Track Changes feature automatically on. It opens certain documents in “Final: Show Markup” setting with a blank review column to the right. I can’t get it to go away no matter what I do. Help!?!?!? Please and Thanks!

  12. SM

    November 29, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    I use this everyday now. Thank you!

  13. Henriette Visser

    January 27, 2012 at 5:28 am

    How do I restore myself as the first editor?
    I was editing a document as the first (and only) editor with my comments in red appearing as usual. At the end of the day, I turned off my computer, but when I started it up the next day and opened the document, all my previous changes were in blue as though a second editor had done them. I then checked what would happen if I opened a different document and started editing it. This one too would not note my changes in red as the first editor. I find it so anoying. Please could you explain how I restore myself as the first editor to see my changes in red. Note: I am the only one who edits on any document and no one else has access to my PC. I also didn’t change the profile or any other settings on it.
    Henriette Visser

    • elena

      January 15, 2014 at 1:40 pm

      Henriette, did you ever get an answer to how to restore back to first editor? I have the same problem. Multiple reviewers, I was red, now I am purple (hard to read).

      • Angela

        February 21, 2014 at 6:33 am

        I’m dealing with the same problem. I need it to be blue instead of purple. It was blue when I originally opened the document and started to make my changes, but once I saved it, it turned purple. I’ve been searching for hours on how to change it and can’t find anything that makes sense.

      • Angela

        February 21, 2014 at 7:25 am

        Elena, I figured out a “work around” in Word 2010. The color I needed was blue and not purple.

        1. Click on the “Track Changes” tab

        2. Click “Change Username”

        3. Change it to your first name (ex: Angela)

        4. Click “ok”

        5. Type letters on your document to see what color they are. It will probably start off with tan or green

        6. Repeat steps 1 & 2

        7. Change it to your fist name and add a number 1 at the end (ex: Angela1)

        Type the letters again and each time you change the username to see what color it changed to

        8. When you change the username again, add a number 2 at the end. (ex: Angela2) And continue to add a new number at the end of your name each time you change it until the lettering you type is blue.

        Conclusion: When you change the username about 4 or 5 times, you will see the color change each time and it eventually cycle back around and turn back to blue. The previous changes I made are still in purple, but all future changes will be blue :) :) :) YAAAYYYY! I never thought I was going to get this to work for me. I hope it helps you too!!!

        • Steve Krause

          February 21, 2014 at 1:23 pm

          Hi Angela,

          I don’t have Word 2010 installed but looking at Word 2007 and Word 2013, there appears to be an option to customize this. For example — Word 2013 Click the Arrow in the corner of the “Tracking” ribbon ( and then Click Advanced Options.

          From there you can customize all the author settings and colors.

          Same goes for Word 2007. Here is where you can access it on Word 2007

          My Guess is you should be able to find a similar option with Word 2010 as well.

          • Angela

            February 27, 2014 at 11:30 am

            Steve, thanks for taking the time to reply.
            I thought I figured it out, but when my computer rebooted, the colors got all jumbled up. The original color my editor used was red, now mine is red and her’s is purple. Mine is supposed to be purple and blue because I ended up having to use two separate usernames to edit with, due to it originally turning purple. I’m inserting edits with the same username as before the computer rebooted. This is making it super confusing.

            I looked at what you mentioned many times over but there is no option to change the color for the individual user unless I add a user again… which I had already done. And, as mentioned before, once my computer rebooted, it jumbled the colors up again… I think I’ve tried EVERYTHING to fix this – and I’m relatively computer and Word savvy. It might be an error on Microsoft Word’s part that really needs to be fixed.

        • JJ3

          April 9, 2015 at 6:33 am

          Superb workaround. A default purple font was driving me nuts! thanks for sharing!

  14. Kathy

    February 13, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    I am wondering if there is a way to accept the changes in a color other than black, without having to format each edit in that different color (say red). I understand that the edits appear in red (or another color if there are multiple authors), but once the text is accepted, it is black. I would like to be able to see where I input new text, after I have accepted changes. Hope this makes some sense.


    • Steve Krause

      February 15, 2012 at 3:51 am

      Hi Kathy,

      The way the system works is once you accept the change, word no longer tracks it. Only other option is to manually change the color or add a color or not accept the change until the final document is ready to be saved and communicated.

  15. Steve

    March 29, 2012 at 5:57 am

    I have made a copy of a document that is a template (not a *.dotx template) for creating design documents that has “Track Change” turned on. I want to modify creating my initial version for the project & once completed use that point in time to track changes.

  16. daniel

    April 11, 2012 at 5:58 am


    Is there any way to change the track options on a comparison document?

    So if you have two documents up and you want to change the track settings on the comparison doc, (ie colour, how it appears) is this possible?

    Or would you just change it on the original document and it will then replicate over to the comparison doc.


  17. Christine

    September 17, 2012 at 2:25 am

    Great – just the solution I needed (use different colors by slightly changing the editor name). Thanks a lot!

    • Steve Krause

      September 17, 2012 at 11:07 am

      No problem and thanks for the feedback Christine!

  18. Steve

    September 28, 2012 at 8:15 am

    Let’s say I am working on a protected document from a user, and I am not allowed to unlock it. I make edits over the course of several days, and on the last day, I discover I want to “undelete” something I had marked two days earlier. How can I accomplish this? I don’t see any way to undo my own deletes.

  19. Mary

    May 15, 2013 at 10:34 am

    How do you make track changes a default setting in Word 2010

  20. Sam

    July 28, 2013 at 12:56 am

    I am using track changes option in 2010.My addtions are in red colour and deletions or in strike through blue color. Now i need to take printout of document with addtion only.I dont want to include deletion.How can i do that?

    Awaiting your reply.

    Thanks in Advance.

  21. Neal

    August 1, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Your instructions on how to allow a uniquie track-change color for each author are clear enough. Still, when I change the user name as instructed and then alter the existing track-changes color (blue) to a new color (red), the existing changes appear only in the new color (red). Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

  22. Keen

    August 12, 2013 at 4:35 am

    I received a word document and made amendments to it. My amendments are in red colour and the amendments made by a previous reviewer is purple. I also noted my name and “author” as reviewers. There are no other names listed as reviewer.

    After saving, all my amendments were changed to purple colour and I am unable to tell the difference between my amendments and the previous reviewer’s amendments. And under the reviewers name, my name also disappeared and only “author” is left under the reviewers names.

    Is it possible to re-set the setting to ensure all reviewers amendments even after saving will retain different colour coding.



  23. myra

    October 9, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    i am using microsoft word 2010 and 2013.

    i would like to edit the document with using different colour.
    but i dont have commands as per step 5 – Change user name

    please advice.

    thank you

  24. Angela

    February 21, 2014 at 6:42 am

    Mr. Ruthruff. Can you please answer this question? Another person and I are editing 1 document. I was the originator of the document, and sent it to her. She then turned on the “track changes” feature and her edits are in red. (no prob) When I originally opened the document and started making my changes they were blue (no prob), but then I saved the document and they changed to purple (problem). How can I change my edits back to blue? I’ve been searching for hours on how to change it and can’t find anything that makes sense.

  25. Karol

    June 23, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    After I make changes or comments to a person that has sent me a document, do I have to save my changes and then email back to them, or is it done automatically?

  26. Magoo

    August 27, 2015 at 9:10 am

    I am new to word 2010 tracking program. How do I get the insertions, deletions, crossouts, highlights in the text itself. I want to use both balloons and inline text editing but I cannot highlight anything within the text. Help, I am lost! Magoo

  27. Moira Elliott

    February 20, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    Hello there, I recently upgraded to Windows 10 and while editing a document, decided to make a second file called CLEANWITHCOMMENTS, thereby Accepting all Changes and leaving the comments for the author to answer. BUT all the original track changes on the original file have disappeared!!! HELP how do I resurrect my track changes please??? Am a Luddite.

  28. Louise Parkes

    June 17, 2017 at 11:28 am

    I am lost. I am a secretary thus I type up documents and send for approval. I need to track the changes they’ve made to my document and send out the amended copy. I can’t get word to show the changes they’ve made. help!

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