Thursday, December 18, 2008

Word for the Novelist - Revisions, Part 2

It's been an embarrassingly long time since my last Word for the Novelist installment, and now that I have some new readers, I decided I should make time for this.

Before we begin, you might want to review Revisions, Part 1. It discussed setting up a document for reviewing (which is really quite easy) and what all the menu items are (a bit more complex). This article discusses reviewing revisions by others, and making revisions yourself.

These instructions are for Word 2003. I'm told it's not too difficult to apply these instructions to 2007.

Protecting a Document before Distribution
You can protect your document and force any reviewers to make any changes as revisions.
  • Click Tools, and then Protect Document. The Protect Document pane will appear.
  • Under Editing Restrictions, pull down the menu and select Tracked Changes.
  • Click Start Enforcement and enter a password.
Unfortunately, you can only restrict editing to either tracked changes or comments. You cannot have both in a protected document.

A more friendly method of encouraging your reviewers to track any changes is to click the Track Changes button before saving and distributing your document for review.

Reviewing Revisions by Others

To review changes to a document, use these buttons on the Reviewing Toolbar:

The buttons with arrows let you jump back and forth among the change markups. The Accept button is the button with the checkmark, and it accepts the change. The Reject button is the button with the X, and it rejects the change.

The Accept and Reject button each has a dropdown menu with the following options:
  • To accept or reject all changes in a block of text, highlight the text and click the Accept or Reject button.
  • To accept all changes in the document, pull down the menu next to the Accept button and select Accept All Changes in Document.
  • To reject all changes in the document, pull down the menu next to the Reject button and select Reject All Changes in Document.
  • To delete all comments in the document, pull down the Reject menu and select Delete All Comments in Document.
The dropdown menus also contain options to accept, reject or delete all changes and comments shown. If you had chosen to hide any changes, choosing this option will let you accept or reject all comments that currently appear in the document. Any hidden revisions will remain in the document.

Selecting Reviewers

If more than one person made changes to your document, it will appear less cluttered if you only look at one reviewer's revisions at a time.

To look at a specific reviewer's comments, point to Reviewers. The names of all reviewers will appear.

Place a checkmark next to a reviewer's name. Word will hide all other comments and changes.

Remember to go back and unhide everyone's revisions by selecting All Reviewers.

Final Clean-Up

When you think you are finished, do a final check for revisions.
  • Ensure your document view is Final Showing Markup (see previous article if you don't know how to find this).
  • Ensure you have all options checked in the image above.
  • Click the right arrow button. If you see this box, you know that your document is clean.

Reviewing a Document
To Track Revisions

To review a document and track any changes that you make, click the Track Changes button, which is the highlighted one, below.

The button turns orange while Track Changes is on.

If you are viewing the document in Print Layout view (which shows your page as it would appear after printing, including headers/footers), your deletions will appear either as strikeout text or in balloons to the right of the page. Insertions will appear in color within the text. In Normal view, it looks like a legal document, with strikeouts and insertions. (To change your document view use the View menu.)

You can turn the Reviewing Pane on and off with the button next to the Track Changes button. The revision pane will show the complete text of all your revisions and comments.

Use the button that looks like a sticky note to insert a comment. Comments will appear as balloons to the right of the text, or in the Reviewing Pane, depending on your options.

In previous versions of Word, Word prevented you from accepting your own changes. This is no longer the case unless the author has protected the document.


If you have many changes in a small amount of text, such as capitalizing or converting the tense of a phrase, just delete the original and re-enter the text with your new wording. It is easier for the author to review.

When Word's grammar or spelling checker replaces text, it automatically replaces the whole word. To avoid this, you may want to enter the change yourself.

If you have the Show Formatting option turned off (which is off by default), you may see some apparently empty balloons. These balloons contain any spaces that you have deleted. You can see them if you turn the Show Formatting option on.


To read the rest of my Word for the Novelist series, click here. Previous articles include instructions on making a manuscript template, grasping Word styles, and making excerpts for emails and the web.


  1. It's nice that MS Word has these features but I haven't really needed to use them yet. I don't really do online collaboration and the samples I've posted are just PDFs.

    Before I read the "original" post, I thought the phrase Word for the Novelist was just a clever newsletter-type posting series that you did.

  2. There's a topic--how to convert a file to PDF. Thanks!

    I suppose I should call it "MS Word for the Novelist".

  3. CutePDF is my favorite! Not sure what you use.

    Yeah, your old one is MS Word for the Novelist, but it's not a bad idea to have something called "word for the novelist", even if it is just a new word you should know the definition of. Like platform.


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