131 - Microsoft Word Editing Features

This How To outlines how to use the editing tools in Microsoft Word, part of the Microsoft Office Suite. Word is installed on all Windows and Macintosh computers in ITS pods. These features are useful whether you are editing your own documents or using the features for a group editing assignment. Where commands are different from Windows on a Macintosh, the command is enclosed in parentheses.

Document Preparation and Protection
Tracking Changes and Comparing Versions
Accepting or Rejecting Changes
Multi-Reviewer Comments
Using the Comments Feature

Document Preparation and Protection

Begin with document preparation and protection modes:

  1. Open the document you want to prepare for review.
  2. Check whether the document contains multiple versions. In the  File menu, click Versions.
  3. Keep your original document and save a copy of it with a different name. This maintains the integrity of the original and allows you to compare it with the changed review copy later.
  4. In the Tools menu, click Protect Document. A Protect Document dialog box will appear. Choose one of the following:
    • Tracked Changes - Allows others to change the document, changes made are indicated (tracked) by changing text color and “striking through” text that has been replaced.
    • Comments - Allows others to insert comments only.
    • Password - Type a password and share only with those who you want to make changes or add comments.
  5. Click OK.

Tracking Changes and Comparing Versions

There are two ways to track changes in Word. You can track changes as you make them, or you can compare the original with single or multiple reviewed versions (see below).

Track changes as you make them

  1. In the Tools menu, highlight Track Changes and in that submenu, click Highlight Changes. A Highlight Changes dialog will appear.
  2. Confirm that Track changes while editing is selected. A checkmark will appear in the box next to the choice. Click the box next to Highlight changes on screen. Highlight changes in printed document will print the changes you see on your monitor.
  3. Word distinguishes between different people changing your document based on the User Information in Preferences. Each different reviewer‘s changes or comments will be identified with a different color.
  4. Move your cursor over changed text to see who made corrections; a comment box will appear showing the User Information.

You can disable the revision marks by unchecking the Highlight changes on screen option.

Compare reviewed versions with the original

  1. Open the changed version.
  2. In the Tools menu, highlight Track Changes and in that submenu, click Compare Documents. A directory window will appear. Locate your original document and open it.
  3. The document will look the same as if you were tracking changes, but when comparing documents, everything is done at the same time. If the marks are distracting, you can disable that feature.
  4. Word displays all reviewers’ tracked changes and comments, with each reviewer identified by a different color. You can then review comments and accept or reject changes (see below).

Accepting or Rejecting Changes

When you have completed your document comparison, you can accept or reject the edits made to the document:

  1. In the Tools menu, highlight Track Changes, and in that submenu click Accept or Reject Changes. A dialog box will appear.
  2. Click Find and Word will search for the next change in the document. Then you will have the choice to accept or reject the change.
    • Accept a strikethrough and Word will delete the striked text.
    • Reject a strikethrough and Word will keep the striked text.
    • Accept an underline and Word will keep the new text.
    • Reject an underline and Word will delete the new text.

If the document you sent out for review was not set up for change tracking, and you have the original document, you can still find where changes were made by comparing the changed copy with the original.

Multi-Reviewer Comments

You can merge the comments of multiple reviewers into one document:

  1. Open the original document (or a copy of the original document).
  2. In the Tools menu, click Merge Documents. A directory window will appear. Locate one of the reviewed documents to merge. Click Open.

Repeat step 2 until all reviewed copies of the document are merged.

Using the Comments Feature

The comments feature allows reviewers to highlight text and/or add comments to a document. The comments will remain hidden until you want to see them. The comments will not print, but will show on the screen as yellow highlighted text.

  • To add comments to a document, in the Insert menu, click Comment. A window will appear in the bottom half of the document where the comment can be typed. Click Close when you are done composing your comment.
  • To see comments in your document: move your cursor over the text (do NOT click) and the comment will appear in a box above the text.
  • To edit comments, right click the comment (control+click on a Macintosh); choose Edit Comment from the contextual menu. The comment box will reopen at the bottom of your document.
  • You can delete a comment in that same contextual menu.
  • To add the comment text to the document, right click (control+click) the comment and choose Edit Comment. Copy and paste the comment into the text (it will appear where the cursor is located).
  • Comments do not print, unless you select that option.
  • In Windows, open the Print Menu box and select Comments from the Print what pop-up list.
  • On a Macintosh, in the Print dialog box; click General, and in the pop-up list that appears, click Microsoft Word, the dialog box will change; click Word Options, a Print tab will appear; click the box next to Comments (a checkmark will appear and Hidden Text will automatically be selected); click OK; click Print.
  • To change your initials, select Tools> Options> User Information (Tools> Preferences> User Information on a Macintosh).