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How to Track Changes in Word & Google Docs

By October 11, 2021April 9th, 2023No Comments

Updated April 2023

Tracking changes in Microsoft Word and Google Docs makes it possible to make tentative edits to a document that you can then accept or reject later.

This editing feature in Word and Google Docs makes collaboration between writers and editors easier, and can greatly improve your document workflow.

Here’s how to track changes in Microsoft Word and Google Docs. Need to convert your document first? Visit our free online document converter first.

How to Track Changes in Word

MS Word Edit Mode allows you to make changes to your document as suggestions that can then be accepted or rejected by you or the document owner before being made part of the final document. For example, you may want to share a business proposal or contract around to colleagues for feedback and approval before sharing it with a client or customer or sending it for digital signature.

Here’s how to use Track Changes in Word.

How to Turn On Track Changes in Word

Before you begin editing, you have to turn on Track Changes in Word. Where is Track Changes in Word? In the Navigation Ribbon, click “Review,” then click “Track Changes.”

Pro Tip. You can activate Track Changes using a keyboard shortcut. To begin tracking changes, press Ctrl + Shift + E.

As you type, changes will appear in red. Deleted text will show a strikethrough, and comments formatting changes will appear in bubbles to the right. Optionally, you can choose from several options to customize the Track Changes view.

  • Display for Review – This option allows you to choose how the markup will show for you or an editor during the review. Simple Markup shows changes in the margin indicated by a red line. All Markup shows changes in detail. No Markup shows the document as it would appear if you accepted all changes.
  • Show Markup – This option allows you to customize the markup view in the document window. Choose to show or hide comments, deletions, and formatting changes, as well as edits from specific people.
  • Reviewing Pane – This option opens the Reviewing Pane, where you can see and act on all tracked changes within the document. The drop-down menu allows you to choose from a vertical or horizontal reviewing pane.

All changes made in this mode are temporary until accepted by the document owner.

How to Turn Off Track Changes in Word

When you’re done making suggestions to the document, open the Review menu in the Navigation Ribbon, then click “Track Changes” again. Any edits made with Track Changes turned off will directly change the final document.

Pro Tip. The same keyboard shortcut that turns on Track Changes also turns off Track Changes in Word. To turn off Track Changes with a keyboard shortcut, press Ctrl + Shift + E.

With Track Changes turned off, you can now begin accepting or rejecting the suggested changes in the document.

Accepting or Rejecting Changes

There are two ways to accept or deny changes in Word. You can accept them individually, directly within the document, or individually or in bulk in the Review menu.

  • Accept or Reject Inline – Within the document, right-click on any of the tracked changes. In the drop-down menu, select “Accept” or “Reject.”
  • Review Menu – In the Review Menu, to the right of the Track Changes button are the “Accept” and “Reject” buttons. Clicking on either of these will activate Reviewing mode. You can navigate to the previous or next suggestion without accepting or rejecting the current one by clicking “previous” or “next.”

Clicking “Accept” or “Reject” will accept or deny the current tracked change and move on to the next one. Are you wondering how to accept all track changes in Word? Just click the drop-down menu under Accept and click “Accept All Changes.” Do the same under Reject to reject all.

How to Remove Tracked Changes in Word

You can only remove tracked changes from the document by accepting or denying them. However, you can hide markup for review by selecting “No Markup” under the “Show Markup” menu. You can also hide markup while printing under Print Settings.

How to Track Changes in Google Docs

Tracking changes in Google Docs is done through the “Suggesting” and “Editing” modes. These two modes allow you to make changes as suggestions and to accept or reject those suggested changes. Here’s how to use these editing features in Google Docs.

Where Is Track Changes in Google Docs?

Users familiar with Microsoft Word may find themselves a little lost trying to locate the Track Changes feature in Google Docs. That’s because Google Docs allows you to track changes using the Suggesting and Editing settings.

In the upper-right corner of the document editor window, expand the drop-down menu under the Editing button. You’ll see three options – Editing, Suggesting, and Viewing.

  • Editing – This is the default setting. All changes made in this mode directly affect the live document.
  • Suggesting – In this mode, all document changes are added to the document as suggestions. The document owner can either accept or reject these changes. Only accepted changes become part of the final document.
  • Viewing – This mode prohibits all editing. Viewers can make no changes to a document in Viewing mode.

Select Suggesting mode to begin tracking changes. As you make changes to the document, these changes will be added to the document in green. All changes are temporary until accepted by the document owner. Rejected changes do not affect the document.

Accepting and Rejecting Changes in Google Docs

When you’re finished making suggested changes to your document, use the drop-down menu to switch from Suggesting mode to Editing mode. You can approve or deny all the changes one by one or reject or accept all track changes in Google Docs at once in editing mode.

  • Accept or Reject – To accept or reject edits individually, click on the comment bubble associated with a correction. Click the checkmark to accept the change or the X to deny it.
  • Accept or Reject All – To accept or reject all suggested changes at once, in the document menu, click “Tools” and select “Review Suggested Edits.” Click “Accept” or “Reject” individually, or choose “Accept All” or “Reject All” from the drop-down menus.

Pro Tip. You can access the Review Suggested Edits menu via a keyboard shortcut. Press Ctrl + Alt + O or Ctrl + Alt + U to go directly to the Suggested Edits.

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