How to Work with Track Changes in Microsoft Word
By Su-Mia Hoffmann
How To Work With Track Changes

Whether you are self-publishing your book or going the traditional publishing route, editing is one of the first steps in the publishing process. Microsoft Word is the most popular word processor on the market. It is industry standard for editors to use Track Changes to edit your document. As such, understanding how to use Track Changes is an important skill for any author. Luckily, Preflight Books has you covered!

What are Track Changes?

The Track Changes function is exactly what it sounds like: the function tracks every change that is made to your document, including who made those changes and when they were made.

How do I Turn Track Changes on?

Track Changes Tab

You can find the Track Changes function under the Review pane in the Ribbon at the top of your document in the Tracking tab. If you click on Track Changes it will display a darker grey like the image above. Track Changes are now turned on.

There are a few options for how to display how the changes the Editor made (the Markup). You can choose Simple Markup (as shown above), All Markup, No Markup or Original. All Markup will show all the changes made, No Markup will not show what was changed but will show the edited document, and Original will show the document before any editing was done. You can also choose which types of changes you want displayed and whether they should be displayed in Balloons (alongside the page) or Inline (on the page itself).

We suggest using Simple Markup when working on a document and then displaying All Markup with Only Formatting in Balloons when reviewing an edited document. Also be sure to Show Comments, like in the image above.

How do I Accept and Reject Changes?

Accept/Reject Tab

Also in the Review pane, next to Tracking, is the Changes tab. Here you can Accept or Reject a change. You also have more detailed options when you use the arrows under Accept and Reject. When reviewing your edited manuscript, this is how you will Accept or Reject the changes suggested to you by the Editor.

What Does a Manuscript Edited with Track Changes Look Like?

Manuscript edited with Track Changes and Comments

A manuscript edited with Track Changes set to show Inline will look like the image above. Sometimes the changes can seem a bit overwhelming, but the trick is to go through them one by one. The moment you Accept or Reject a change, it will no longer be red (or whatever colour is assigned to the editor if more than one person edited the document).

Final Thoughts

It is important to go through every change your editor makes. This is your book, and you want to be sure that you are satisfied with the final product. Editors spend years honing their craft and studying the language, so think carefully before simply rejecting a change. You can always leave a comment asking your editor why the change was necessary.

Do you need help editing, proofreading or self-publishing your book? Contact Preflight books via or request a quote here.

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