Word: Tracking changes by date

April 24, 2014

Word doesn’t have an easy way for you to track changes by date. You can track by author, but not date. And it’s not even easy to see the date a change was made — yes, you can check each one by hovering over the tracked change, but getting a list of them isn’t so easy. But it can be done. And with the use of a clever macro, you can even get a table of all insertions/deletions and information such as author, date, page, line number of the change.

The instructions below are for Word 2010, though Word 2007 and later versions should work similarly.

Display the dates for each tracked change in one list

  1. Go to the Review tab.
  2. Click the drop-down arrow next to Reviewing Pane.
  3. Select Reviewing Pane Horizontal. The dates are shown on the far right of the new section that opens below the document in the Word window.


  • Reviewing Pane Vertical DOESN’T show the date, only the name; only Horizontal shows the date on the far right of that pane at the bottom of the window.
  • Be aware that this reviewing pane is unlikely to display in PDF – only in Word.
  • You can’t sort this pane by date or anything else. However, you can drag it up to make it display more entries per ‘screen’.

Print the list of tracked changes

  1. Go to File > Print.
  2. Click the drop-down arrow next to Print All Pages.
  3. Scroll down the list of options – there’s one for List of Markup. You get the dates in that print option, but unfortunately they are not in date order.

Note: This is a printout/image and you cannot manipulate the information. See below for a digital version.


Get a digital copy of the tracked changes

If you want a digital copy of the tracked changes, there’s another way to use the print options. This method assumes you have OneNote installed on your computer.

  1. Go to File > Print.
  2. Select OneNote as the printer.
  3. Click the drop-down arrow next to Print All Pages.
  4. Scroll down the list of options and select List of Markup.
  5. The track changes ‘print’ to OneNote as an image. Right click on the image and select Copy Text from all the Pages of the Printout.
  6. Paste the copied text either into another OneNote page, or a new Word doc.

It’s not pretty, but you now have information you can manipulate.

Use a macro to create a new Word document containing all the tracked changes in a table

Note: This macro ONLY creates a list of the insertions and deletions, not the comments, any formatting changes, field updates etc. Before attempting this, you should know how to add a new macro in Word.

  1. Go to: http://www.thedoctools.com/index.php?show=mt_trackchanges_extract&lang=us
  2. Click the View as HTML option about halfway down the web page (it should take you to this page: http://www.thedoctools.com/downloads/basTrackChanges_Extract.htm).
  3. Select all the text on that web page (Ctrl+A).
  4. Create a new macro in your Word document or template (preferable) called ExtractTrackedChangesToNewDoc.
  5. Paste the content from the web page into the VBA Editor, overwriting the existing Sub and End Sub lines.
  6. Optional: Tweak the date format so that it displays as YYYY-MM-DD for easy ascending/descending date order sorting in the resulting table.
  7. Save the macro and close the VBA Editor.
  8. Run the macro on your document — a new document is created that contains a table of all the insertions/deletions and a date column that you can sort.


See also:

[Links last checked April 2014]



Word: Cut/paste tracked changes from one document to another

April 23, 2014

Thanks to Pete C who alerted me to this procedure.

Important notes:

  • This procedure CUTS (i.e. deletes) the text from the original document; if you wish to keep that text in the original document, you have to go back to the original document after pasting into the target document and undo your previous action (e.g. with Ctrl+z). I could not find out how to just COPY the original text instead of cutting it.
  • This procedure does NOT work for table rows, columns, or whole tables — if you select any of these, then only the first cell of the selection will be cut to the clipboard, and when pasted, all table formatting will be lost and it will paste as normal text.
  • From the experimenting I did, text formatting and styles from the original document (except for text from tables) are retained in the target document when pasted.
  • You can select and cut several sections of text to the clipboard, one after the other, then paste them into the target document as a single paste. This process used to be called ‘spike’ in earlier versions of Word.

To cut and paste tracked changes text from one document to another:

  1. In Document A (the original document), select the text containing the tracked changes that you want to paste into Document B (the target document).
  2. Press Ctrl+F3 — this cuts (deletes) the text from Document A and places it on the ‘spike’ clipboard. If you wish to keep the text in Document A, immediately undo the cut (Ctrl+z).
  3. Go to the place in Document B where you want to insert the cut text from Document A.
  4. Press Ctrl+Shift+F3 to paste the cut text, including the tracked changes. This clears the content from the ‘spike’ clipboard — if you want to keep this content, see the instructions described here: http://helpdeskgeek.com/office-tips/use-the-spike-to-copy-and-paste-text-in-word/

See also:

[Links last checked April 2014]


Word: Track Changes : Moves

April 3, 2014

Based on a Writing Tip I wrote for my team.


Some people on my team have asked why Microsoft Word doesn’t always show moved text as a move (double green underline by default), even though ‘track moves’ is turned on (Review tab > drop-down arrow next to Track Changes button > Change Tracking Options).

I investigated the circumstances under which moves are *meant* to be tracked in Word. Despite the official word on this from Microsoft, the reality is that tracking moves in Word is flaky—sometimes full sentences aren’t tracked as moves and just show as deletions/insertions, which isn’t what’s meant to happen. And that’s very frustrating.

The *official* word is that moves should be tracked under these circumstances:

  • Select sentence or more, then drag and drop it at the new location.
  • Select sentence or more, cut it (Ctrl+X), then paste (Ctrl+V) at the new location.

Moves are NOT tracked under these circumstances

  • Copy sentence (Ctrl+C) or more, then paste (Ctrl+V) at new location.
  • Dragging/copying/pasting individual words/phrases that don’t constitute a complete sentence (or more).

NOTE: Moving individual words and phrases is never tracked as a move, only moving whole sentences and parts of subsequent sentences, thus if you move a full sentence that includes a word or two of the next sentence, Word should track that as a move. However, as I said, tracking moves is very flaky and it might or might not work as designed.

See also:

[Links last checked April 2014]


Word: Make all tracked changes the same color, regardless of author

April 2, 2014

You have a document that many people have worked on, reviewed, edited, changed etc. Track changes is on for all these amendments. The default setting in Word is to track changes by author, which means that your document is like a rainbow with all those different colors — one for each person who made a change!

For example:


You need to send the document to someone else, but the recipient only needs to see what has changed, not who changed it — in other words, you don’t want all those rainbow colors to show. Instead, you want a single color to show the multiple insertions (e.g. ‘green for go’) and another color to show the deletions (e.g. ‘red for stop’), irrespective of who made those changes.

It’s easy to change, but be aware that if you change it for one document, the change holds for other documents unless you change it back to ‘by author’ color coding. This is the case even after you close Word and reopen it. It’s a global setting for all your documents, not a setting for just one document.

  1. Go to the Review tab and click the little drop-down arrow below the Track Changes button.
  2. Select Change Tracking Options.
  3. For Insertions, change ‘by author’ to a specific color (e.g. green).
  4. For Deletions, change ‘by author’ to another specific color (e.g. red).
  5. Consider changing the color for Moves too, as they are green by default and if you use green for Insertions, then you should use another color (e.g. violet) for moves.
  6. Optional: Turn off the Track Formatting check box unless you really need this on. In most cases all it does is clutter up the document with tracking balloons.
  7. Click OK. Your document’s track changes are now shown in the colors you set at steps 3, 4, and 5.


NOTE: The person’s name who made the change still displays when you hover over the change, but all insertions are now one color and all deletions are another color, no matter who made the change.

See also:

[Links last checked March 2014]




Word: Change caption numbering from sequential to chapter numbering

March 31, 2014


  • You have a Word document that uses outline numbering for each chapter/section heading (e.g. 1.1, 1.2, 2.4.3 etc.).
  • You have table and figure captions in this document that are numbered in two long sequences — one for tables, one for figures (e.g. Table 1 through 53; Figure 1 through 26).
  • You want to convert the caption number sequences from a single number sequence to a separate sequence in each chapter/section (e.g. Table 3.2 for the second table in chapter 3).
  • You want to do this because your document is long and readers can’t easily find the tables/figures they want as numbers like Table 34 are meaningless unless you find the table captions before/after ‘Table 34′. By changing the numbering sequence to include the chapter numbers, your readers will have guideposts to aid their search — if they are in Section 5, they will know that Table 3.2 is back in Section 3 and is the second table in that section.
  • Ultimately, you want to help your readers find the information they want as quickly as possible.


This set of steps ONLY works if you use automated outline numbering for your heading styles. This post does not describe how to set that up (instead see the links in this post: http://cybertext.wordpress.com/2008/09/23/word-2007-outline-numbering/).


There are three main steps in this procedure — updating the table and figure caption numbering, then updating any cross-references that refer to these tables (including any List of Tables of List of Figures you’ve inserted).

Step 1: Update the caption numbering for tables

  1. Place your cursor in front of ANY automated caption number for ANY table.
  2. Go to the References tab and click Insert Caption to open the Caption dialog box.
  3. Change the Label to Table.
  4. Click Numbering to open the Caption Numbering dialog box.
  5. Select the Include Chapter Numbering check box.
  6. Optional: Change the Separator. It’s unlikely you’ll need to change the Format or the Style, so leave those as they are.
  7. Click OK to close the Caption Numbering dialog box. Doing this automatically updates ALL table caption numbers in the document.
  8. Click Close to close the Caption dialog box.

Step 2: Update the caption numbering for figures

  1. Place your cursor in front of ANY automated caption number for ANY figure.
  2. Go to the References tab and click Insert Caption to open the Caption dialog box.
  3. Change the Label to Figure.
  4. Click Numbering to open the Caption Numbering dialog box.
  5. Select the Include Chapter Numbering check box.
  6. Optional: Change the Separator. It’s unlikely you’ll need to change the Format or the Style, so leave those as they are.
  7. Click OK to close the Caption Numbering dialog box. Doing this automatically updates ALL figure caption numbers in the document.
  8. Click Close to close the Caption dialog box.

Step 3: Update all the cross-references to the figures and tables throughout the document

  1. Press Ctrl+A to select the entire document.
  2. Right-click and select Update Field.
  3. If you’re asked about updating the Table of Contents, select Update entire table, then click OK.
  4. If you’re asked about updating the Table of Figures, select Update entire table, then click OK. You might be asked about this twice if you have both a list of tables and a list of figures.

When finished, all your cross-references should now reflect the new numbering sequences. NOTE: Sometimes you have to repeat these steps and update a second time to get them to all update correctly.


See also:

[Links last checked March 2014]



March 24, 2014

I think they meant ‘FreeSpirit’ like the rest of the copy… (and yes, ‘fat quarters’ are legitimate things that quilters know well).

Business Marketing 101: Employ a proofreader/editor!



Functional design

March 19, 2014

Some things are just too sensible for words, and you wonder why no-one thought of them before.

Here are some I came across during my recent trip to the US.


A wall hair dryer in a hotel bathroom with an LED nightlight incorporated into the holder — perfect for 3 am trips to the toilet in the dark! The LED light stayed on all the time the hair dryer was plugged in.


I’ve seen this before, but its usefulness was really brought home this trip as I travelled with my tablet, which needs charging fairly regularly. Having a power outlet sensibly located on the base of the bedside light avoided all sorts of hunting and crawling about under the bed (often to no avail) looking for a spare outlet.


At last! Recognition that business travellers actually do work in their rooms, and that kids with multiple devices need places to plug them in, and if necessary, project their games on to the in-room TV screen. This panel next to the desk in my room at the Renaissance in Palm Springs had FOUR power outlets for charging all your devices (and they were oriented in different directions to suit odd plugs), as well as LAN, HDMI, audio ports etc.


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