Enabling Track Changes in Microsoft Word for Mac

How does Track Changes work?

Woman holding silver Macbook on chair.

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When collaborating on a document, it is often essential that changes made to the document be tracked. This allows owners of the document to see what changes were made and by whom. Microsoft Word offers great tools for tracking this information in its 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

For Word on the 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.

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

Enabling Track Changes

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

  1. Select the Review tab in the menu.

    Screenshot of Track Changes on Review tab
  2. Select the slider labeled Track Changes to the On position.

Enabling Track Changes in Word 2008 for Mac

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

  1. Click View in the menu.

  2. Move your mouse pointer down to Toolbars. A secondary menu will slide out.

  3. Click Reviewing to display the Reviewing toolbar.

  4. 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 remember to 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 by using the "Display for Review" drop-down menu item located on the Review tab.

There are four options you can select for markup display:

  • All Markup (default): Displays all changes made in the text. Deletions, font changes, and other edits will appear in bubbles along the right side of your document with the name of the collaborator who made the change.
  • Simple Markup: Reduces the amount of markup displayed in a document. A simple vertical line in the left margin indicates the location where a change has been made.
  • No Markup: Hides all markup in the current document. Changes will be tracked even though they are not displayed in this setting.
  • 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.