So how do I customise Track Changes (and why would I want to?). Previously, we learned about why you might want to use Track Changes and how to find and use it to delete and add text and make comments. Now we’re going to go one step further and customise it all (and you can also find out how to work with a text that contains tracked changes).
So, here’s our original text with some changes tracked that we created last time:
Why customise Track Changes?
Customising Track Changes basically makes things more comfortable for you and means you can work in a way that suits you. For example, some people like to cross out text in a document, like if you were editing a written manuscript, while others like to remove the deleted text altogether and place it to one side.
Please note: This is customising your view of the document. It’s personal to you, your computer and your document. When someone else opens the document, they will not necessarily see what you see, especially if you’ve customised it away from the defaults. Note this, because it becomes ever so important later on …
How do I customise Track Changes?
Your key area for this is the Review tab, then the section marked Tracking. You can change three things:
- Tracking Options themselves (the colours and fonts that mark the changes)
- Balloons (whether changes are marked within the text or to the side of it)
- Final showing markup (which changes show in your version of the text)
We’ll look at these in turn, and also at what happens when more than one person makes changes to the document.
How do I change the tracking options?
To change the tracking options you need to click on the little arrow at the bottom right of the Track Changes button. This gives you another way to turn Track Changes on and off, a menu item to click to access the tracking options, and a final item we’ll look at later on.
For now, let’s click on that middle menu item. Up pops a great big dialogue box with all sorts of things to change:
I think this is fairly self-explanatory. On the left hand side, you can change how the text appears when you do something to it (underline, double underline, etc.) and on the right hand side you can change the colour.
Let’s change some things …
So here we’ve changed insertions and deletions to double underlines and double crossings-out and the comments to blue. Watch what happens to our text (actually, the crossing-out won’t show up until the next section … )
Because the crossings-out are shown in balloons, not in the text, we can’t see them. But that will all change …
How do I customise the balloons?
Now we’re moving on to talk about what appears in balloons and what appears “inline” or in the text itself.
Important note: This is not how you change what comments themselves look like. For that, you will need to see my posts on comment boxes.
The menu we need here is the next one to the right of the Track Changes button, called, inventively, Balloons:
At the moment, Show Revisions in Balloons is ticked. Note that to change between the options, you need to tick the one you want – no unticking allowed! Try ticking Show All Revisions Inline:
and watch what happens to the document. Gone is the right hand margin, gone are all the balloons, and instead you can see what has been crossed out, and you can only read comments by hovering the mouse over the note indicating there is a comment:
Now, personally I don’t like it looking like this, but some people do.
For more information than you would ever want on how to further customise your balloons, please see my article on customising comment text.
How do I change which changes I can see?
You can review particular changes individually using the next button along: Show Markup. Drop it down and you can see that you can choose to see various kinds of correction, and also only changes made by a particular person:
I don’t think I need to show you examples of all of these – have a play with them and you can see what’s what.
Above this menu item is Final Showing Markup. Now: this is important. Yes, you can choose how you view the document …
For example, you can choose Final and you’ll see the document in its final form with no changes showing:
But: REMEMBER – this is all about what YOU can see. The Tracked Changes have not gone away: they’re still on the document, just hidden. So if you send the document to someone else, they can change their view and see all your changes and comments! Eeps!
You can only “get rid” of changes and comments by accepting or rejecting them, individually or en masse, and that’s a job for next week’s post.
How can I tell which reviewer has made which comments?
If more than one of you is reviewing the document, Track Changes makes it easy to see who said what. All you need to do is make sure that the “by author” option is chosen in Tracking Options …
… and your comments and alterations will appear in different colours:
Again, avoid telling the other person, “Oh, my comments will appear in blue”, as it’s up to the individual and their own computer as to what colours will appear.
How do I change my initials in comments?
If you want to change your initials in the comments, perhaps because there are two reviewers with the same first initial, you need to go back to Tracking Options and choose Change User Name. This will bring up the Word Options dialogue box, and at the bottom you can change the initials that appear in the comments balloon:
Next time I make a comment, my initials have changed!
However, please note that when I change L to LB here, the change takes effect from that moment, and is not applied retrospectively. Well, you can’t have everything!
A final note
You may want to pin some of your most common choices to the Quick Access Toolbar – read this article to find out how.
So, we already knew how to find Track Changes, today we’ve learned how to customise Track Changes so it works just as we want it to. Next time, we’ll be talking about how to work with the Track Changes you, or someone else, has applied to the document, leaving it nice and tidy and clean! And there will be a separate article on formatting comment balloons, coming soon. In the meantime, if you want to customise the text in your comment balloons or it goes all small or runs from right to left, click on the appropriate links to find out what to do.
This is part of my series on how to avoid time-consuming “short cuts” and use Word in the right way to maximise your time and improve the look of your documents.
Please note, these hints work with versions of Microsoft Word currently in use – Word 2003, Word 2007 and Word 2010, all for PC. Mac compatible versions of Word should have similar options. Always save a copy of your document before manipulating it. I bear no responsibility for any pickles you might get yourself into!
Find all the short cuts here …