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
How do I accept one reviewer’s changes?
Why are my tracked changes changing colour?
How do I get rid of tool tips on tracked changes?
Here’s a problem: when I add comments to a Word document don’t show my picture by them although I’m signed in to my Microsoft account. This article explains how to make sure that your personal picture appears in your Word Comments (in Word 2013 and going forward to 2016 and beyond, for PC). If your picture has disappeared from your Word comments, it tells you how to get it back. If you don’t want to see your picture in Word comments, it tells you how to remove it.
I always try to be responsive to my commenters (see this post on comments for why!) and so I’m writing this post as a direct consequence of a comment I received on one of my articles about comment boxes in Word.
The basic problem is this: you can have your image appear next to your comments in Word. Because Word 2013 and beyond are designed largely to be used with an active subscription account with Microsoft, it can pull details from your Microsoft account through to the software to enhance your user experience.
Why would you want your image next to your comments?
I’m going to repeat the comment here (with many thanks to commenter and correspondent Lark Lands) so you can see what the problem is and why it’s important:
So this comment writer uses the picture to scan down and find their own comments.
Please remember the golden rule of Track Changes and Comments here, however: how you choose to display your Word document comments and changes has no effect on what your client sees. So you can add your picture to your own view, but don’t expect this to carry through to your client’s or collaborator’s view of the document.
Where is the picture in my comments in Word?
In Word 2013 or 2016, you might see a picture in your comments: it will appear in this position if you have it set up to show pictures:
The arrow is pointing to the placeholder picture (if you’re not logged into your Microsoft account online) or your own picture (if you are logged in)
If you don’t have pictures enabled, your comments will look like this:
How do I add or remove my picture from Word 2013 comments?
The first thing you need to do here is to make sure that you’re logged in to your online Microsoft account. If you don’t do this, the “picture” that appears by your comment will just be a little placeholder symbol and your efforts will be wasted to an extent.
Now you need to make sure boxes are ticked (or unticked) in two places and then do one final but very important process.
1. Set up Track Changes options
First, set up your Track Changes options to show pictures.
In the Review tab, find the Track Changes area and click on the arrow in the bottom right corner:
When you’ve clicked on the arrow, this dialogue box will appear: make sure that Pictures by Comments is either ticked or unticked, depending on whether you want to see the pictures or not:
Click OK and the first part of the process is done.
2. Check your Word Options are appropriate
Now you need to go into Word Options and make sure that your picture displays whether or not you are logged in to your Microsoft account (you should be logged in when you do this)
Go into Word Options using the File tab …
… and then choosing Options
The Word Options dialogue box will appear. Make sure that Always use these values regardless of sign in to Office is NOT ticked (even though this seems counter-intuitive):
Click on OK and process 2 is complete.
3. Restart your computer (do not ignore this one)
After an amount of correspondence on this topic, my original comment poster noted that they hadn’t fully restarted their computer. It’s not enough to restart Word – you need to restart Windows.
So, restart your computer and now your picture should appear or not appear as you wish.
This article has told you what to do if your picture does not appear next to your comments in Word 2013 or you want to add or remove your picture from Word comments.
Please do click the share buttons or comment if you’ve found this article interesting and/or useful.
Other relevant articles on this blog
Customising comment boxes in Word
What to do if your comment boxes go tiny in Word
What to do if your comment boxes start running from right to left
Changing the language in your comment balloons
Customising Track Changes