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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.

Notes:

  • 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.

track_changes_printed01

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.

track_changes_table

See also:

[Links last checked April 2014]

 

2 comments

  1. Great tips.

    My preferred way to track changes by date (and/or revision number) is slightly different. Just change the personalization in your MS Office installation. Instead of your name or initials, change it to the date; you might also want to add a revision number as shown in my example here: (05/12/2014-Rev 2) Turn on Track Changes and make whatever changes need to be made. Turn off Track Changes and return your personalization information to the norm. This works very well if it is necessary to track multiple sets of edits, especially when setting the Options so that each set of changes is displayed in a different color. This method is very useful when it is necessary to create an ongoing record of final changes that are associated with revising an official (issued) document in a highly-controlled industry.


  2. What a brilliant idea, Sharon! Thanks for sharing it.

    –Rhonda



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