Enabling Track Changes in Microsoft Word for Mac

How does Track Changes work?

Copy Editor holding silver Macbook on chair.

Christina Morillo / Pexels

When collaborating on a document, it's often essential that changes made to the document be tracked. When changes are tracked, owners of the document see what changes were made and by whom. Microsoft Word offers tools to track this information in the Track Changes feature.

Instructions in this article apply to Word for Office 365 for Mac, Word 2019 for Mac, Word 2016 for Mac, and Word for Mac 2011, as well as Word for Mac 2008.

How Track Changes Works

In Word for Mac, the Track Changes feature marks changes in the body of the document, making it easy to see what was deleted, added, edited, or moved. These marks (referred to as markup) appear in a variety of colors, such as red, blue, or green, each assigned to a different collaborator on the document. This makes changes visible and collaborators identifiable.

Use Track Changes to accept or reject changes. This can be done individually, or you can accept or reject all changes across the entire document at once.

Enable Track Changes

To enable Track Changes in Word for Mac 2011 and newer, follow these steps:

  1. Select the Review tab.

    Review tab in Word for Mac
  2. Turn on the Track Changes toggle switch.

    Track Changes toggle

Enable Track Changes in Word for Mac 2008

To enable Track Changes in Word for Mac 2008, follow these steps:

  1. Click View.

  2. Move the mouse pointer to Toolbars.

  3. Click Reviewing.

  4. On the Reviewing toolbar, click Track Changes.

When Track Changes is active, all changes made to a document are automatically marked. Track Changes is set to off by default, so enable it for every document you wish to track.

Choose How Markup is Displayed

You can choose how tracked changes are shown while you’re working on a document. Go to the Review tab and select the Display for Review drop-down arrow. Then, select how you want the markup to display. The options are:

  • All Markup (default): Displays all changes made in the text. Deletions, font changes, and other edits appear in bubbles along the right side of the document with the name of the collaborator who made the change.
  • Simple Markup: Reduces the amount of markup displayed in a document. A vertical line in the left margin indicates the location where a change was made.
  • No Markup: Hides all markup in the current document. Changes are tracked but not displayed.
  • Original: Displays the original, unchanged text of the document. Changes made are not lost when switching to this view.

Track Changes offers more features for collaborators, such as comparing different versions of a document and inserting comments in a Word document, so explore to learn more.