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Track Changes: The Book Editing Tool 


The editing process is accomplished with the Track Change tool in Microsoft Word.  The reason for using this is that it allows you to see the changes made to your document (aka "mark-ups") and decide whether to keep them or make alterations.  You can then follow the remaining steps outlined below to arrive at a perfectly "clean" version of your document.


1.  When you open the document, you will immediately encounter the mark-ups (in a colored font, usually red).  These can be difficult to read, so you will need to be able to manipulate the track changes tool on our computer.  Here are the pathways to find the tool, depending upon which version of Word you have:

MS Word 2010 Go to your tool bar and click the View tab.  This will open a drop-down with the option “Toolbars.”  Click on it, which opens another drop-down containing “Reviewing.”  Click this and you will see your full editing tool bar.  (See step # 2 below for how to proceed from there.)

MS Word 2007:  Go to your tool bar and click the Review tab, from which you will be able to see your full editing tool bar.  (See step # 2 below for how to proceed from there.)

MS Word 2003:  Go to your tool bar and click the Tools tab.  Then choose the “Review” option, from which you will be able to see your full editing tool bar.  (See step # 2 below for how to proceed from there.)


2.  After arriving at the correct tool bar, you will see the window (with a little arrow) called “Final Showing Markup.”  Click the arrow and it will show you “Final,” which will temporarily hide the mark-ups and allow you to read the document more easily.  You can then switch back and forth between the two views so you can see the editing changes, as well as the way the final edited document looks.


3.  For anything you want to change, just make the changes while you’re viewing the document through the “Final” window—it’s much easier to see what you’re doing that way.  (FYI, your switching to “Final” only hides the editing mark-ups; it does not eliminate any of it.)  So, when you are finished with any changes you decide to make, save the document (it’s always good to keep all of your document copies), and then complete the next step so that you can get a clean final document.


4.  Go to the “Accept” box on your tool bar and click on the little arrow.  Then click the last option in the drop-down, “Accept All Changes in Document.”  Next, in order to erase all evidence of the editing, click the little arrow in the “Track Changes” box, which will open up a short drop-down menu.  Last, click on the first option, which reads “Track Changes” again.  This will permanently turn off the track changes and eliminate any evidence of the editing.


To double-check, however, place your cursor at the end of the first line of your document (your title, whatever—doesn’t matter).  Then strike one of the keys on your keyboard.  Let’s say you hit “M.”  If the “M” is in black, you have eliminated the track changes; if it is still showing up in red, you need to go back to the Track Changes tab on your tool bar and repeat the process described in the previous paragraph. 

Note: Track changes will forever remain visible in the document unless you complete this step!


5.  Lastly, you will want to give your clean version a nice file name so that when you send it to someone, it appears professional and properly labels the contents.  Also, this way, any chance of accidentally sending an edited version with red mark-ups showing will be greatly reduced.



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