I need to keep track of what changes people make to a document I’m sharing in Microsoft Word for Mac OS X. How do I enable revision tracking controls in MS Word for Mac?
Microsoft Word is a great example of software that has a million and one capabilities, 80-90% of which people don’t use. It’s big, it’s complicated. But there’s one feature that I’ve always relied on with MS Word as a writer, and that’s revision tracking. Whether someone’s fixing the spelling of a word, reorganizing paragraphs or sneaking a sentence into the middle of the longest paragraph, revision controls are a splendid way to keep track of what’s happening with your documents.
It’s no wonder that all the other word processing programs offer this feature too, including Pages and Google Docs!
In the latest version of Microsoft Word for the Apple platform [version 14] there are all sorts of toolbars along the top that can be enabled (Microsoft calls them “ribbons”), including one that’s specifically designed to work with document reviewing and revision management. That’s the easy way.
But, since I like to show you more than one solution to a problem, let’s look at the menu-based way to enable revision tracking because it gives you more control over exactly what’s going to be tracked.
You can find “Track Changes…” on the “Tools” menu:
As shown, choose “Highlight Changes…” to pop up the little window that details exactly what you want to track:
I track everything, but beware that if you keep “Highlight changes in printed document” that it can be a crazy mess when you do print out a few pages to read them, so you might want to consider unchecking that one.
Most importantly, make sure that “Track changes while editing” is checked, then either click “OK” or “Options…”.
If you click “Options…” be prepared for one of the most complicated windows in the entire Microsoft Word program:
How can you not love that screen? I mean, it’s insanely complicated.
My solution? Just click “OK” and let it stay as all the default values. They work juuuussstt fine.
That’s it. Now you have revision tracking enabled on the document. If you’d like, click on “Review” along the very top of the toolbar area so you can bring up the appropriate Ribbon too:
That’s it. Once you enable this feature, save the document again, then when you share it, everyone should see the revision tracking as they work and tweak things.