Microsoft Word: Tracking

trackingMicosoft Word tracking has been around for many years and in many of the previous versions of  Microsoft Word.  An efficient tool if there is an understanding how tracking works.

How often have you received a document and started making changes, your words are being crossed out (strikethrough) or “balloons” are visible down the right hand side of the page?  The page text area seems to have shrunk too.  Tracking has been turned on or not turned off.

You may have received a document in an e-mail message from your colleague. You save the document under a new name and tailor it to your needs. It never occurs to you that your colleague left comments in the original document, because you don’t see them in your copy. You are now ready to pass the document along to your customers, but you want to send them your version of the document, not an accumulation of the original document, your colleague’s comments, and your updates.

Or, you used the Track Changes feature in Microsoft Office Word 2007 to keep track of the changes that you made to your job application letter. Now you want to send the letter to your prospective employer, who should see the result of your editing, not the thought process you went through to get there. In either case, you are stunned when those who receive your document report that it is difficult to read, with all the strikethrough, underlining, and balloons off to the side. Look! There is a paragraph in your letter with three different points displayed in strikeout formatting — and the skill you want to emphasize this time around is displayed in underlined text. Chances are you won’t get that job.Track Changes

To effectively turn tracking off click the Review tab, the ribbon will display all the review tools.  On the Changes secion of the ribbon click the drop-down arrow on the Accept button and click the option Accept all changes in Document. You’re not finished.  Go back to the ribbon Tracking section and click the Track Changes tool to turn the feature off.

Tip: There is no need to click the drop-down arrow of the Track Changes tool to turn the feature off.

Note: The Track Changes tool is depressed when active, it also changes colour.  The status bar indicates whether tracing changes is on or off.

Add the Track Changes Indicator

If the status bar does not indicate the tracking, right click (secondary mouse button) the status bar, the Customise Status Bar menu pops up, check the Track Changes box (click to add a tick) to add the indicator.

Note:  If the Track Changes command is unavailable, you might have to turn off document protection. On the Review tab, in the Protect group, click Protect Document, and then click Stop Protection at the bottom of the Protect Document task pane. (You might need to know the document password.)

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