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How to track changes in Word 2007-2013

If you are reviewing a document and want to edit it, propose changes or make comments on it, you can do so by switching on "change tracking". This effectively records any changes and comments you make and attaches them to the document so that other people (the author, editor, other reviewers) can see them.

Enabling Tracking

  1. Click the Review tab (see screenshot below)
  2. Click the Track Changes button 
Word 2010 toolbar

Using Tracking

From this point on, every change you make is recorded under your name (the name can be changed if necessary). Furthermore, as long as tracking remains on, other people's changes will also be recorded. Every reviewer's changes are marked in a different colour to make it possible to see who made what change. 

By default, changes are shown as follows:
  • Inserted text is shown underlined.
  • Deleted text is shown in strikethrough style.
  • Changed text (e.g. a spelling correction) is as a deletion and an insertion, e.g spelingspelling.
  • In addition, a little vertical line on the side of the page shows every line where a change has been made.

Comments

If you want to add a more general comment (e.g. "Can this be paragraph be shortened?"), simply place the cursor where you want to add the comment (or highlight the text you want to comment on) and click New comment button (3 in the screenshot above). A "bubble" will appear on the side of the page and you can type your comment there.

If you want to delete a comment, simply click in it and click the Delete button (4 in the screenshot)

Other office suites

This capability is built into many other word processors, including older versions of Microsoft Word (e.g. Word 2003), OpenOffice, LibreOffice and Kingsoft Writer. The details of how to switch tracking on and entering comments will vary a little from package to package, but the system works essentially in the same way in all of them, and the changes and comments are displayed in the same way even across applications. In other words, if you review a document in Word 2013 and send the document to a LibreOffice user, he or she will be able to see the changes you made just fine.
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