If you want to print or save a Word document to change it into a PDF, and you have Tracked Changes showing in the Word document, will those tracked changes still show up in the PDF?
I needed to check this myself this morning, so now I’ve confirmed what happens, I thought I’d write a quick article about it, on the grounds that if I’ve had to check, someone else will need to, too (bloggers: this is a good way to inspire blog posts if you’re lacking ideas!).
So here is the definitive answer to the question Can I save a Word document as a PDF and keep the tracked changes showing.
Why save a Word document with tracked changes into a PDF?
This came about because I was discussing plagiarism with a colleague and explaining what I do if I need to confirm from a client’s supervisor that it’s OK to make as many changes as I’m making to their text. I mentioned that sometimes I will send over a copy of the work so far, and sometimes I’ll go as far as to turn the Word document into a PDF so it can’t be altered between me and the supervisor. But will the tracked changes still show up?
Proof that tracked changes still show on the PDF
So here’s my Word document, complete with tracked changes (make sure these are showing):
Just a reminder that in the newer versions of Word you can save to a PDF automatically without having to go through third-party software. Choose File – Save As then drop the file type down to choose PDF:
Then when you open it in your PDF reader (I use PDF-XChange Viewer), there are all the tracked changes!
So, if you want to preserve your tracked changes so they can’t be, um, well, changed, printing to PDF will give you an image of them you can share.
I hope you’ve found this useful – do click the Like or Share buttons or comment if I’ve helped you out!
Please note: these tips work for Microsoft Word version 2007 and upwards. They are not guaranteed or tested for Word for Mac.
Other track changes articles on this website
Track changes 1 – why use it, where can you find it, what can you do with it?
Track changes 2 – customising Track Changes
Track changes 3 – working with a document with tracked changes