Word: Track Changes settings

September 24, 2015

The track changes settings in Word 2013 have changed in several ways. This blog post describes some of those changes, and some recommended best practices. All track changes options are on the Review tab.

Track Changes button

This button is now divided in two, though it’s not obvious as there’s no dividing line. Click the top half of this big button to turn track changes on and off; click the lower half to open a submenu for turning track changes on and off (again!) and for locking track changes so that others can’t delete them.

Display for Review options

In previous versions of Word, the view markup options were Final: Show Markup (now Simple Markup and All Markup — see below for differences); Final (now No Markup); Original: Show Markup (no longer available); and Original (same).

From my testing, the difference between Simple and All Markup is whether or not the changes are shown:

  • With Simple Markup, you just get a vertical line to the side of the text (on the left for a left page; on the right for a right page if you have different left and right page layout) that tells you there’s one or more changes on that line or lines. In my testing this line was red. You don’t know what the changes are — you just know that there are some insertions, deletions, or moves. The text shown is with the changes applied.

How Simple Markup lines are shown

  • With All Markup, you get a vertical line on the side (gray for the same document), plus you can see the change that’s been made. This is the same as the previous Final: Show Markup, but with a thicker (more obvious) vertical line.

How All Markup lines are shown, as well as the change

Show Markup and Reviewing Pane options

Seem to be the same as in previous versions of Word; however, Reviewers under Show markup is now Specific people.

Track Changes settings

In earlier versions of Word, you clicked the little drop-down arrow on the big Track Changes button to open the submenu that got you to the settings. That’s gone. In its place is a dialog launcher button at the bottom right corner of the Tracking group.

Dialog launcher in tracking group takes you to the track changes settings

Clicking the dialog launcher opens the Track Changes Options window. Be careful with this window — it does what it says but NOT what you might assume it does. The check boxes on this window function the same as the Show Markup options on the ribbon. Don’t assume that turning off Formatting here, for example, turns off track formatting — it doesn’t (yes, I got caught with this…). It only stops formatting changes from showing. Formatting is still tracked! To turn off track formatting and adjust other settings, you have to go a step further…
Track Changes Options window

To turn off track formatting and adjust other settings, click Advanced options on the Track Changes Options window. The Advanced Track Changes Options window opens, showing the familiar window you probably know from previous versions of Word. It’s here that you turn off track formatting, etc. All these settings seem to be the same as in previous versions, though arranged slightly differently.

Advanced Track Changes Options window

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