Collaborative Editing of Word Documents


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Track Changes is a Microsoft Word feature, which allows for electronic review and markup of a document. A Word document can be reviewed and edited by a single reviewer or a group of reviewers.  When a document has the Track Changes feature turned on,  Microsoft Word uses revision marks, such as redlines or black lines to indicate where changes to the document have occurred (shown below)

or will use balloons to show your additions and deletions to the document (shown below).



This topic will show you how to enable the Track Changes feature:

Enable Track Changes  
  To enable the Track Changes feature you can either:
  • On the menu bar, click on the Tools, Track Changes command, OR
  • Double-click on TRK button in the status bar at the bottom of the Word document.



Change the Track Changes Options  
  To adjust how changes will be displayed in your document, go to the Tools menu, Options, Track Changes tab.  You may change the way markups are presented by clicking on the drop-down menu and selecting your desired markup style.  You may also chose to turn off the balloons by choosing Never from the drop-down menu next to the Use Balloons (Print and Web Layout) label.


Insert & Delete Text with Track Changes  

To insert text, insert your cursor at the location text is needed. Enter the needed text.  The text will appear underscored with a red line and red as the font color.

To delete text, insert your cursor where text needs to be deleted. Delete the text.  Depending on your Track Changes Option settings, the text will appear with a redline through the deleted text or a balloon will be point to where the text had been deleted.


  Accept or Reject Changes  

Use the Reviewing toolbar to easily accept or reject changes.  You may turn on the Reviewing toolbar by clicking on View> Toolbars> Reviewing.



On the Reviewing toolbar, in the Display for Review box, you can choose "Original", "Original showing markup", "Final" or "Final Showing Markup" to switch the display mode.


The Tracked Changes modes are outlined in the following table.

Use this mode

If you want to display

Final Showing Markup

Markup that shows the deleted text in balloons and the inserted text marked inline.


The document as it would appear if you accepted all the changes.

Original Showing Markup

Markup that shows the inserted text in balloons and the deleted text marked inline.


The document as it would appear if you rejected all the changes.

*Taken from Microsoft Office Assistance: Collaborate in Word.


Show drop-down menu is the next button on the Reviewing toolbar.  The Show drop-down menu allows you to select what will be visible when editing a document, including Final, Comments, Insertions and Deletions, Formatting, and the Reviewing Pane; as well as check the names of the Reviewers of the document.

The Previous button allows you to move backward through the document by the comments or changes inserted in the document.

The Next button allows you to move forward through the document by the comments or changes inserted in the document.

The Accept Change button allows you to accept the specific change that is currently being viewed, accept all changes that are showing in the page view, or accept all changes within the entire document.

The Reject Change/Delete Comment button allows you to decline the change currently selected, or remove a comment currently selected. All changes in the view can be rejected as well as all changes in the entire document.

 The Insert Comment button allows you to create a new comment for insertion in the document:

The Highlight button allows you to select text and highlight it for reviewing purposes.

The Review Pane button allows you to open or close the Review pane at the bottom of the document:

+Section References the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Track Changes document

  Insert Comments  
Authors and reviewers can make annotations without changing the text by adding comments. You can insert a comment by placing the cursor at the desired location.  Next, click Insert, Comments from the file menu or click on the Insert icon on the Reviewing toolbar.  If the toolbar is not turned on, you can turn in on the toolbar by clicking View, Toolbars and then Reviewing from the file menu.

You may then type your comment.  Depending on your Track Changes Option settings, your comment will either be entered in the balloon to the left of your text (shown below)

or may be typed into the Comments pane at the bottom of the Word window (as shown below).

If you would like to edit or delete a comment, simply right click on the comment and select either Edit Comment or Delete Comment.


  Use Track Changes with your Team  
  You can send your documents to other users for their review and comment.

Send an Attachment for Review

  For additional information on Collaborative Editing, please click the links below:  

Track Changes FAQ

Track Changes Guide

Swarthmore's Track Changes to Microsoft Word Document

+University of Maryland, Baltimore County Track Changes

*Microsoft Office Assistance: Collaborate in Word and keep within a word limit


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