Have you ever received a Microsoft Word document from someone else in which there were all kinds of crazy blue lines through many words with strange comment boxes to the side with lots of additional dotted lines? This is called track changes and is a way that people who are co-editing a paper can suggest and approve of various changes.
In my 37 years of life, I've discovered many things - and one of those things is that there are two kinds of people in the world. The first kind is the average kind of person who hates additional complexities built into software. These people are the norm. Then there are the rare birds who really seem to enjoy track changing.
Not me! I hate track changes and would love to permanently turn it off on my computer. Of course, even if this were possible, it wouldn't be practical since I do still occasionally receive Word documents in email that have the annoying track changes feature.
How to Turn Off Track Changes in Microsoft Word
(aka: Getting Rid of All Those Track Changes Lines)
- Make sure you can see your Reviewing toolbar. If you're not sure, go to View > Toolbars and make sure that Reviewing is checked. If it isn't checked, check it.
- As the illustration to the right shows, click on the checkmark dropdown and choose 'Accept All Changes in Document'. (Click to enlarge picture for better viewing if necessary.)
That should clear off all the cobwebs left by Microsoft Word's track changes feature. However, these tips were meant to turn off track changes in Windows XP. If the tip didn't work for you, try visiting this how to turn off track changes in Microsoft Word tutorial or visit a similar description page at Princeton University's Helpdesk.
By the way, now that you've passed the tutorial on how to turn off track changes in Microsoft Word, let me share a few gripes with you. You see, I really hate track changes. First, to turn off all the crazy lines permanently, you have to go through the steps I mentioned above. Second, for some reason Microsoft Word calls their track changes toolbar as the "Reviewing Toolbar" rather than being the "Track Changes Toolbar". Third, the most obvious thing to do in the toolbar (the dropdown on the far left which shows "Final Showing Markup" in the illustration above) doesn't turn off all the crazy track changes line. Instead, it just changes the perspective of the view that Microsoft Word is showing you. Trying to get rid of the track changes lines here will only superficially get rid of them. Word is still tracking changes and you may see yet even more lines the next time you open the document. Finally, while this article is about how to turn off track changes in Microsoft Word, the truth is that what we really did was to "accept all of the changes". In technical jargon, turning off track changes really means just stopping the tracking mechanism - which wouldn't get rid of all the crazy track changes lines. In short, there are so many ambiguities and inconsistencies that it makes it very frustrating and almost impossible to learn. Microsoft needs to make track changes easier to use!
I'll stop there. Just wanted to gripe for a minute to let you know that I share your pain. Thanks for listening! By the way, one other way to reduce the number of times you have to turn off all those crazy track changes lines is to let your coworkers and teammates know how much you hate track changes. Perhaps the indirect approach would be to refer them to this article. :)