Two of My Favorite Microsoft Word Track Changes Tips

I have a love/hate relationship with Microsoft Word. On the one hand, it’s bloated and annoying. But on the other hand, it has a number of great features that I rely heavily on. One of those features is Track Changes.

So I want to quickly offer two of my favorite Track Changes tips, in case they help you like they’ve helped me. Before you read this, I’m assuming that you already know basically how to use Track Changes in Word.

Keyboard Shortcut for Show/Hide Changes

First, a keyboard shortcut (KBSC) I use daily… you know that in the Review tab in Microsoft Word, there is a popup menu that shows “Final Showing Markup,” right?

track changes

There are three other choices in the menu: “Original Showing Markup,” “Final,” and “Original.”

I find that I am forever switching between two of these:

  • Final Showing Markup: I need to see the text that has been changed.
  • Final: I need to see how the final document will look, without any strikethroughs and underlines.
final vs markup
The problem is that it’s a major pain to choose each of these from the popup menu each time you want to switch! I’d rather use a keyboard shortcut. And fortunately, after quite a bit of searching, I found one.
First, choose Tools > Customize Keyboard… then choose All Commands from the Categories list and, in the list of Commands on the right, choose View Changes. Now give it a shortcut in the “Press new keyboard shortcut” field and click OK. (I use Ctrl+R on the Mac.)
create word shortcut
That’s it! The shortcut you assign now toggles between these two common settings. Simple but awesome!

Accept/Reject All by Author

We sometimes have four or more people editing a single document, and trying to figure out who did what can get crazy. Often we need to accept all the changes by one author or editor, but leave the rest, and Word doesn’t make it obvious how to do that. Fortunately, the solution is pretty simple.

First, you need to realize that Word lets you show (or hide!) comments from individual reviewers. To find that, look inside the Reviewers submenu, in the Show Markup popup menu:

WordShortcut4

If you choose All Reviewers, it toggles them all on or off. Make sure the checkmark is on only next to the reviewers that you want to accept (or reject). Now, accept (or reject) all the changes:

WordShortcut5

Now you can select All Reviewers from the Show Markup menu again, so you can see the changes the other reviewers have made.

By the way, this is one of the few Track Changes features that’s easier to accomplish in InDesign. If you use Track Changes in InDesign, and you want to accept or reject just one person’s edits, just place your cursor in one of their edits and then choose Accept/Reject All Changes by This User from the Track Changes panel menu:

WordShortcut6

These little tricks aren’t going to save you hours, but they will shave off seconds and minutes here and there (and they certainly make the process of working with tracked changes easier).

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Posted on: January 6, 2017

David Blatner

David Blatner is the author or co-author of 15 books, including Real World InDesign, Spectrums: Our Mind-Boggling Universe From Infinitesimal to Infinity, and The Joy of Pi. He is also the author of InDesign Essential Training and the InDesign Insider Training titles at lynda.com. David is the co-host of InDesignSecrets and PePcon: The Print + ePublishing Conference, and is the co-founder of Creative Publishing Network.

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