13 Things You Didn’t Know About Word: Reviewing

Here’s the wrong way of reviewing a document: make the changes you think necessary, and save the document with a different name. Sounds sensible enough, doesn’t it?

Trouble is, after this has happened several times, neither your nor the person whose document you’re reviewing will know which version is which.

Moreover, if you have AutoSave on, or you inadvertently use the Save command instead of the Save As command, you’ll make the changes irrevocable to all intents and purposes.

The point to bear in mind when it comes to reviewing is that you’re either only suggesting changes or marking the document up for someone else to change. If the former, then you want to have the choice about whether the suggested changes are actually implemented, or whether you just say “Forget it”.

The solution is to use the Reviewing mode. This lets you make changes to the document in the same way that a professional proof-reader would. For example, when you delete a word, it isn’t really deleted, it is simply struck through, like this.That makes it easy for you to see what the text was before you made that particular change. So it gives you, and the author (which may be yourself, of course), the chance to mull it over and then, if you prefer, revert to the original wording.

OK, let’s get started.

First, go the Review menu, and select Track Changes.


Next, decide whether you wish to show the suggested changes inside the body of the document, or in “balloons” in the margin. You do that by clicking on the Balloons tab.


If you like, you can also decide how your changes will appear. Click on Track Changes—>Change Tracking Options.

Now make changes to the document in the secure knowledge that, until you click on an option in the the Accept or Reject menus, none of your alterations will be permanent – although I always think it’s a good idea to save the document with a slightly different name

before you get started. I usually use something like original name – TF Review.docx.

Using the Reviewing feature is also handy when you have several people reviewing the document, because you can see who made particular changes, just by hovering your mouse pointer over an amendment:


You can even make life easier for yourself by going to Show Markup—>Reviewers and then deselecting the people whose comments you do not want to see at this time.


And if you’re concerned that someone will delete or change some key text which is sacrosanct, such as a quotation or a legal statement which has to remain unaltered, click on Protect Document—>Restrict Formatting and Editing, and you will be able to define the areas of the document in which changes are permitted.

There’s a lot more which is beyond the scope of this introductory article, such as setting up a list of approved reviewers. Why not explore and play around with the various options?