Editing Tools – Track Changes or Highlighted Text

Track Changes

Many editors use Track Changes in Microsoft Word for line editing. Track Changes shows ALL the edits made (down to a comma) which authors can then review and accept or reject.

Please keep in mind that markups remain in effect even if they are hidden from view. To clear them, you MUST accept or reject EACH revision (or do it all at once). This is how Track Changes works in Word 2010 (functions similarly in other versions of Word.)

In your top ribbon, select REVIEW.

Show Markup:  Make sure all items on the drop-down menu are selected (Comments, Ink, Insertions and Deletions, Formatting, etc.).

Final: Show Markup

In drop-down menu, you can select:

  •  Final: Show Markup – shows ALL revisions made (in red, underlined). Comments are in “balloons” in right margin.
  •  Final – hides editing marks and comments
  •  Original: Show Markup
  •  Original – shows your original text


  • Select Final: Show Markup to see all the edits made.
  • Select the first revision with your cursor, then choose Accept or Reject in the Review panel, which can bring you to Next.
  • You can also Accept All Changes or Reject All Changes, using the drop-down menu.


  • Many authors go back and forth between Final: Show Markup mode and Final (to see the result).
  • You may find it easier to first reject all the changes you don’t want, make your own revisions as needed, and THEN Accept All Changes.


COMMENT Balloons in Right Margin:

Click on each balloon and select Delete in the Comment section of the Review panel. In the same section, you can go to the Next or Previous Comment. To delete ALL comments at once, find the arrow under Delete and select Delete All Comments in Document.

You may find it tedious
having to accept or reject each edit, as well as each comment.

Following is ANOTHER OPTION.


Highlighting Edited Text

Instead of using Track Changes, I sometimes use Yellow Highlight (can be any color) to show revisions as well as all new/added text. If the author agrees with the highlighted text, she can easily clear it (CTRL +A to select ALL, then choose “no color” on Highlight icon). This is a much faster method.

The only drawback is that the author does not see the deletions/removals (such as repetitious phrases or extraneous detail that slows the story down). I therefore mention any significant deletions in my comments, which are sent in a separate document or email. The author can refer to her original document to see what has been taken out.


Thelma Mariano