Track Revisions with Microsoft Word

Track Revisions Overview

Tired of emailing revised files back and forth? Overwhelmed by the track revisions mark up all over your screen?

Here are the main benefits of Word’s Track Changes for both the Reviewer and the Document Owner:

  1. Reviewer – it automatically tracks the changes you make to a document by marking your document with different visual marks to identify the types of changes made (ex.) insert vs. delete along with details of wording changes. (reviewer must first TURN ON TRACK CHANGES on the Review tab)
  2. Document owner – you can quickly and easily accept or reject each reviewers changes

Review changes

I believe the most efficient way to use this feature is to save the document to a central location. The advantage?

  • Less email. You can email a link to the document instead of sending the attachment. This cuts down on email and the possible need for the reviewer to save the attachment first before making changes (yes of course you’re going to make a backup of the original file)
  • One file for the document owner to review. Multiple reviewers can overwrite the original document back to its original location because Track Changes uses a different colour to distinguish each reviewers changes. This makes life easier for the owner. They open the one document and accept or reject all users’ changes in one document.

Although comments are not technically a change, they are seen as part of the Track Revision changes and are just as important. Comments are also on the Review tab.

Overall, the beauty of the Track Changes feature is that all changes and comments can be right in the document instead of in the body of the email, over the phone or an in person fly by. In my opinion this leaves room for misinterpretation. We all know there’s plenty of that in the workplace.

Yes there are more sophisticated collaborative online tools such as MS Lync, Skype, GoToMeeting etc. which allow a more multifaceted collaborative experience with voice, video and screen sharing and screen take over. My recommendation is to save these tools for time sensitive or remote user situations that warrant an online collaborative revision meeting.

Your opinions are most welcome. Please comment!