Word: Apply a highlight to all tracked changes

November 22, 2018

Over on an editors’ group I’m part of on Facebook, Wendy asked if there was a way to highlight all her tracked changes. Well, tracked changes are already shown in a different font colour and formatted with underlines (insertions) or strikethroughs (deletions) by default, but she wanted more.

As she found, find and replace didn’t work with finding tracked changes. So she was looking for a macro. I’m not good at writing macros, but I’m pretty good at finding them! And then at modifying them for my purposes. A quick search found two possibilities:

I tested them both on an 80p Word document with some 1450 revisions — the first one worked well and quickly (less than 1 minute), but accepted all my track changes and applied a dark green highlight, which I found hard to read. The second was either still going after an hour, or had hung. Whatever, it had stopped Word and I had ‘not responding’ in the title bar. I ‘killed’ Word and decided to only go back to that one if I couldn’t make the modifications I wanted to the first one.

Meantime, I modified the first macro to NOT accept all the track changes and to change the highlight colour to pink instead of the dark green. Here’s my version of that macro in case it ever disappears from the intertubes at that website. Full credit goes to the macro author ‘nixda’.

If you intend using this macro, copy and paste it — some of the lines may go off the page and you’ll miss this information if you type it.

Sub Tracked_to_highlighted()

' Macro provided by nixda, 18 Sep 2014, https://superuser.com/questions/813428/convert-tracked-changes-to-highlighted
' Adapted by Rhonda Bracey, CyberText Consulting Pty Ltd, 22 Nov 2018, 
' to not accept all track changes and change highlight colour to pink
    tempState = ActiveDocument.TrackRevisions

' Turn off track changes
    ActiveDocument.TrackRevisions = False
    For Each Change In ActiveDocument.Revisions
        Set myRange = Change.Range
        ' myRange.Revisions.AcceptAll
        myRange.HighlightColorIndex = wdPink
    ActiveDocument.TrackRevisions = tempState
End Sub

[Links last checked November 2018]



  1. Thank you so much for this, Rhonda. You didn’t ask, but here’s my reason for asking for a way to do this:
    – We are editing a website with about 600 pages of content
    – We are peer-reviewing/quality checking each other’s edits (in Word) against the old content (on the web), and need a way to see where the changes were made without the eye strain of reading tracked changes. Highlighting is a way to be able to see the changes while reading in Simple Markup side-by-side with the old content on the web.

    Also, you’re the BEST! Mwah!

  2. I put this in and when I ran the macro, I got a run-time error 5825 (object has been deleted) for the line “Set myRange = Change.Range”, and it didn’t highlight all the changes in the document (stopped on page 4 of 16). What wrench is my document throwing in to the macro, do you think?

  3. Hi Wendy

    I’m sorry you had this issue. To test it again, I copy/pasted the macro from the post into Word 2010 for Windows and Office (Word) 365 for Windows. In both cases it worked fine and without an error. Both docs were 50 to 100p long and had 300 to 1500 track changes. The macro didn’t stop anywhere — all TCs were highlighted, and I didn’t get an error.

    I don’t know enough about macros to be able to troubleshoot this, and Google didn’t help. Just to confirm — did you copy/paste the entire macro, not type it?

    Also, I think you’re on Word for Mac, right? I wonder if that affects anything?


  4. One other thing to try… Go back to the original macro (first link in the post) and see if that works for you.

    My only mods were to add some comments, comment out the ‘accept all’ option for TCs, and change the colour of the highlighting from dark green to pink.


  5. Thanks!! it worked.

  6. Is there additional code that can be added to highlight the word before and after text deletion in track changes? That is how we indicate a change when something is removed but code above doesn’t work for that. Thank you!

  7. Hi Andrew

    Sorry, that’s well beyond my skill set!


  8. Super helpful, thanks

  9. Thank you so much, Rhonda! I’m an editor for Cactus Communications and the client asked that all edits be ‘highlighted’ yellow. At first, I was like ‘not the worst thing’, until having to click ‘next’ through hundreds of changes and then clicking the highlight button separately :/ And then luckily had the wit to realize there must be someone in this world that has tried to solve this problem! Enter Rhonda! ;) Thank you for this macro! Saved probably an hour of my life TODAY, what to say in the future. May you receive Lots of Love from Above!

  10. This is the modified code I am using to help with our documents in case anyone else wants to use it:
    Sub Tracked_to_highlighted2()
    ‘ Save current track revisions setting
    tempState = ActiveDocument.TrackRevisions
    ‘tempShow = ActiveDocument.ShowRevisions

    ‘ Turn off track changes
    ActiveDocument.TrackRevisions = False
    With ActiveWindow.View.RevisionsFilter
    .Markup = wdRevisionsMarkupAll
    .View = wdRevisionsViewFinal
    End With

    ‘MsgBox ActiveDocument.Revisions.Count

    For Each Change In ActiveDocument.Revisions
    Set myRange = Change.Range
    With Change
    If .Type = wdRevisionDelete Then
    myRange.Previous(unit:=wdWord, Count:=1).HighlightColorIndex = wdYellow
    myRange.Previous(unit:=wdWord, Count:=-1).HighlightColorIndex = wdYellow
    myRange.HighlightColorIndex = wdYellow
    End If
    End With

    ‘ Restore track revisions setting
    ActiveDocument.TrackRevisions = tempState
    With ActiveWindow.View.RevisionsFilter
    .Markup = wdRevisionsMarkupSimple
    .View = wdRevisionsViewFinal
    End With
    End Sub

  11. This worked perfectly for me. I changed the color to yellow, just because I found the pink hard to read. Thank you so much!

  12. This works BEAUTIFULLY! I even figured out how to change the highlighter color.

  13. Thank you so much for the tracked to highlight macro! I have gained so much time!

  14. I can’t get these macros to run in the footnotes.Does any have a macro script to highlight all tracked changes in footnotes? Many thanks

  15. Hi Averill

    Footnotes are strange beasts as many things don’t work in them, such as comments. You may have to modify the macro to include a line about including the ‘range’ that footnotes belong to. Unfortunately, that’s not something I know, so you’ll likely have to Google it or ask someone on the Microsoft support forums.


  16. Thanks for replying, Rhonda. I found this line of script in a Paul Beverley video:

    Set rng = ActiveDocuments.StoryRanges(wdFootnotesStory)

    I gather that it needs to be placed at the beginning of the macro, but I don’t know how to adjust the rest of the stript so it references that range. I’ve also posted this in the Editors Who Talk Tech group in Facebook and I’ll report back here if I find a solution.

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