MS Word - Track Changes feature

  Inside Edge 09:27 22 Sep 04

Hi all, anyone able to help with this one ?

MS Word has a feature to allow you to track changes in documents. In my line of work we often revise large docuemnts and want readers to be able to see where the changes are from the previous version they read so that they don't have to proof read the thing against the last version to find out. This is normally achieved by putting some sort of mark in the margin and is a common way of going about this.

MS Word's "track changes" feature automatically highlights changes in text as you make them. There are a number of options for the way it does this, and these include placing a vertical line in the margin alongside the altered text - great so far !

After that it seems to go pear shaped. When you ADD text the line appears and (with the right options selected) there is no other mark on the text itself. If you DELETE text, the line appears in the margin, but the deleted text remains in the document with a "strikethrough". Now, if you wish to remove the deleted text from view in your final document you click "accept changes" - this removes the text, but the vertical line revision marker disappears with it. When accepting additional text, the line remains !

The only workaround I've found is to use the drawing tool to draw vertical lines in the margin manually. This is a pain, because a) you can forget, b) it takes ages, and c) if you make subsequent changes, you have to lengthen, shorten or remove the lines manually, one at a time.

Does anyone out there have any other ideas - it seems to have defeated my (very large) company's corporate international IT boffins.

The issue is a bit detailed, and there may be another Word forum that's a more appropriate place to post - if so and anyone knows one, I'd be grateful for that info too.

Thanks in anticipation.

  Taff36 11:10 22 Sep 04

Which version of Word are you using. (I have Word 2002 and when I accept changes - additions or deletions - the mark in the column disappears.) Which makes me think it`s a setting.

  Taff36 11:52 22 Sep 04

OK. This is how it works in Word 2002. Obviously turn on track changes and show the reviewing toolbar. Select "Final showing Markup" in the display for review window.

Go to Tools>Options>track changes tab and in the "insertions" & "formatting" boxes select none. Untick the "Use balloons" box but in the "changed lines" box select right border. View the document in print layout and when you come to print the line will remain providing you select "document showing markup" in the print what? box.

DO NOT accept all changes.(The above has effectively hidden the markup but kept your border line) To display the changes fully again go back to options and change them back. To hide them again reverse the process. When everyone has looked at the proof and agreed it then accept all changes.

  Inside Edge 11:53 22 Sep 04

Hi Taff36,

I'm using Word 2002. The "tools">"options">"track changes" tab allows some settings, but doesn't appear to provide a means to prevent the lines from disappearing.

  Inside Edge 11:56 22 Sep 04


I think our posts overlapped. I'm just off to a meeting, I'll try your tip as soon as I get back.

  Taff36 13:50 22 Sep 04

Only one problem I can see. Deletions still show up! (Perhaps not a bad thing) To get rid of them use the "next" icon on the reviewing toolbar and manually accept the deletions only. Other markups will remain hidden and can be revealed as before.

  Inside Edge 14:25 22 Sep 04


Hi again, ...I worked through the steps you suggested, but whilst the vertical lines do remain, I also get any deleted text showing up with a strikethrough (unless I make the track changes colour white, which of course leaves large gaps in the text ! - curiously, the vertical lines in the margin and any additiona text remain black). Have I missed something ?

  Taff36 14:46 22 Sep 04

No - See my last post whilst you were away. I don`t think we can get any closer but I`ll ask around the secretaries I know in the legal profession and see what they say.

  Inside Edge 14:54 22 Sep 04

overlapped again, sorry !

Any acceptance of the deletions removes the line in the margin too. However, in working through your suggestions, I hit on a workaround - after accepting the deletion, if I add a dummy blank space in that line (not obvious in the final text) Word recognises it as an addition and places a line in the margin. This meets my requirement that readers of the finished revised document get their attention drawn to the places where the text has changed, regardless of whether it was an addition or a deletion.

Many thanks for your help in getting me to a solution.

  Taff36 15:59 22 Sep 04

Nice One! Leave the thread open for a couple of days in case someone else has a better solution the tick it as resolved.

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