Word: Macro to turn off Track Formatting

July 12, 2011

If you use Track Changes a lot — as my authors and their reviewers do — then you may find that formatting changes are often tracked, along with insertions and deletions. I think that the Track Formatting setting travels with the document — I have my setting turned off, but I’ll often get documents that have it turned on and I have to turn it off again, so it doesn’t appear to be computer-specific, just document-specific.

Sure, you can turn off the Track Formatting option in the Track Changes settings (Word 2007 and later), but this won’t accept those changes already tracked — it just prevents the tracking of future formatting changes. You can also accept just the formatting changes. But both these methods require you to take action.

But what if you want to turn off that setting automatically for any document that you create or open? You can, if you add this to any AutoNew() (applies setting to new documents on creation) and/or AutoOpen() (applies setting to existing document on opening) macro in your template, or in a separate macros document that applies to all documents:

With ActiveDocument

    .TrackFormatting = False

End With

So, if you don’t already have an AutoOpen() macro, then the complete macro would look like this (AutoNew() is the same — just copy and paste this macro and replace AutoOpen with AutoNew):

Sub AutoOpen()

   With ActiveDocument

      .TrackFormatting = False

   End With

End Sub

[Links last checked July 2011]


  1. Can’t you just hit Ctrl+Shift+E to toggle it off? (or on?) Or am I not understanding what the task is?

  2. Hi Mike

    Ctrl+Shift+E toggles Track Changes on and off.

    This macro goes deeper than that. In Word 2007 and later, there’s a check box in the Track Changes Options dialog box to track formatting changes along with other changes such as insertions and deletions. This macro turns off that check box, while still allowing track changes to track the insertions and deletions.


  3. […] newsletter/blog of CyberText Consulting – technical communication specialists « Word: Macro to turn off Track Formatting Word: Macro to show all formatting on opening a document July 13, […]

  4. This macro doesn’t work for me. I haven’t found any way of getting rid of track change boxes except by accepting them manually, one by one.

  5. Hi Graham

    If the macro isn’t working for you, then try this option which accepts ALL formatting changes only in one action: https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2009/05/29/word-accept-formatting-track-changes-but-not-text/


  6. I would like to shut off track formatting for all Word documents I open. I don’t know what to do with the information above. Can you provide a little more context/instruction? Thank you.

  7. Hi Joyce

    This info assumes you know how to create a macro, and then helps you populate that macro with the info above. To create a new macro:

    1. Go to the View tab > Macros.
      Check the list of existing macros to see if you have an AutoOpen or AutoNew macro. If so, you’ll need to edit it. If not, then continue with the steps below.
      In the top field of the Macros dialog box, type AutoOpen.
      In the Macros in list, change from All active templates and documents to Normal.dot (global template).
      Click Create.
      Copy the first block of code in this blog post into the newly created macro.
      Save, then close the Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications window.

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