How to collaborate on Microsoft Word documents
Work With the Reviewing Pane
In addition to seeing the changes marked up in the text, you can examine them displayed in a different way: in a viewing pane. Click Review > Reviewing Pane. (You can select Reviewing Pane once to reveal the pane, and click it again to hide the pane.)
Choose between a vertical pane or a horizontal pane by selecting an option from the drop-down list. Even if you typically don’t use the Reviewing Pane, it might appear from time to time, when a particular change you are viewing cannot be shown in its entirety on the screen.
If you make the Reviewing Pane visible, you will see that each change is labeled with the editor's name. If your name is incorrect here, or if you want to change it to something other than what’s displayed, click Review > Track Changes > Change User Name. This action opens the Word Options dialog box at the place where you can change the user name and initials that Word uses to identify you.
Save Track Changes Markup With a Document
When you save a document, the marked-up, tracked changes remain included within it. That makes sense, but it can be an invitation to disaster. Consider a scenario in which you are viewing a document with 'Display for Review' set to Final; you can't see the tracked changes, but they’re still in the document. If these are changes that might embarrass you or your business if they were to be made public, you don’t want that document to leave your control in that state. Many companies and politicians have been compromised in this way, so it pays to be careful.
To avoid saving and sharing a document with tracked changes in it, you should configure Word so that it warns you before you do so. Word won’t alert you by default, but that’s easy to remedy: Click File > Options > Trust Center > Trust Center Settings > Privacy Options. Click the Warn before printing, saving or sending a file that contains tracked changes or comments checkbox to enable it. In the future, whenever you save any document containing tracked changes--visible or not--Word will sound the alarm.
Selectively Review Edits Made to a Document
When several people have worked on a document, each person’s changes will be marked up independently of everyone else’s, in a separate color or style of insert and deletion. When you're reviewing a document, you can isolate the changes from one or more people, so that only those edits display in the Show Markup list. Click Review > Show Markup > Reviewers. Select the reviewers whose edits you want to see, and deselect the names of reviewers whose contributions you want to hide.
Force Changes in a Document to be Tracked
In some situations you might want to force Word to turn Track Changes on so that any changes made to the document are automatically recorded, and so that no one can disable Track Changes. To do this, click Review > Restrict Editing, and in the task pane, click the Allow only this type of editing in the document checkbox. In the drop-down list, click Tracked changes. Click Yes, Start Enforcing Protection, and then, if you desire, type a password to protect this setting so that no one can disable it without the password. Now your colleagues can view, edit, and save the document, and any edits they make will be stored in the document.
Track Changes can help you work equitably in collaboration with others. It allows everyone to work on a document together and to make changes and edits, but it isolates the changes so that they remain visible and easily edited themselves.
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