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The Editor’s Corner: How to Use Track Changes

Dog Ear Publishing uses Microsoft Word to collaborate with authors. One specific feature, Track Changes, allows our editors to leave comments, make suggestions, and address concerns, all while providing full disclosure of any revisions.

While it is extremely helpful, especially for developmental edits, Track Changes can also be confusing. Below are some simple steps to get you started.

Although each version of Word is different, the similarities will be obvious. The following instructions apply to Word for Mac 2011 and to Word 2007 for Windows.

When you receive your revised manuscript, follow these steps first:

  1. Open the edited document in Microsoft Word (available for both Mac and PC).
  2. Save the document with an easily recognizable file name.
  3. Click the Review tab on the toolbar.
  4. Slide the Track Changes button to “on” or ensure that the button is highlighted.

Changes Tracked in Word

Track Word Doc Changes

Any change made by the editor will now be visible. Next:

  1. To accept all changes, simply click the down arrow next to the Accept button under Changes. You will see an option for “Accept All Changes in Document.”


Doc Review Tracking

  1. If you would rather go change-by-change, you can do that, too, by clicking “Accept and Move to Next.” If you choose this option, be patient! A large document can take a long time to process, especially on an older computer.
  2. If you want to reject a change, use the Reject button to the right of the Accept button. (“Reject All Changes in Document” is not recommended.)
  3. Save your document.

Now it is time to read through any questions or suggestions that have been left by the editor. These show up to the right of the text, in boxes entitled Comment. Again, review each one and act accordingly. When you’re finished, simply click the “x” button to remove the comment (Mac) or right-click on the comment and choose Delete Comment from the pop-up menu (Windows).

Delete Comment in Word Doc

Remember to save your work often with an updated file name! Microsoft Word has a habit of closing abruptly when it gets overloaded, and a heavily edited manuscript can cause problems. If that happens, try not to panic; most of the time, a file can be recovered, although recent changes might not have been saved.

For more in-depth information on the Track Changes feature, use the Google search engine or try the Help feature inside Microsoft Word. If you have questions specific to your manuscript, feel free to contact Dog Ear. We’re here to help!


Stephanie Stringham
by Stephanie Stringham

As a child, I read everything I could get my hands on, and I dreamed of getting paid to read books and of helping people. With this dream, I propelled myself through college to earn bachelor’s degrees in English (minor in Writing and Publishing) and Business Administration while working as a peer tutor in the university writing lab and interning with a publishing company in college. After graduation, I stayed on with the publishing company, where I fell in love with book publishing. Editing is my avocation. I began freelancing right after college, while earning a master’s degree in Health Communication and then working as an editor for Eli Lilly and Company and for the Defense Finance and Accounting Service. I have edited everything from class materials and newsletters to master’s theses, scholastic imprints, professional journals, and books in all genres. I feel my calling as an editor is not only to improve text but also to teach those with whom I work so they can constantly improve their writing. When I’m not editing books, I’m planting and growing things on a small homestead in Indiana with my husband and two children.