Track your Text Changes

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Using Track Changes for Edits

In the past, writers had to use their pencils to scribble out paragraphs and pages of script to shift it to another part of their story. Then they’d have to rewrite it into the new part of the piece. It was easier to simply delete it by tearing out the page.

Yellow legal pads weren’t friendly to revisions and revisionists. Today, technology is an editor’s and writer’s good friend. Software has the ability to see the changes made to a document and gives the writer the option to accept or reject the changes.

Microsoft Word has a function called “Track Changes.” In a Word document, go to the “Review” tab. Click on “Track Changes” icon and make your changes to the open document. Delete text, add new text, or shift text to another place.

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You’ll find the deleted words marked out with lines through them, and additions are underlined in another font color. Sensitive writers, who love their every word, may feel bad for all the colors on the page. For those who love to shred their text and rewrite it, Track Changes may feel good and refreshing. You’re improving yourself and making your writing sound better.

Sometimes though, people forget about all of these technological options.

Say, for instance, that an editor forgets to click on Track Changes in a document he edits and sends back to you. You won’t have any idea what’s been added, deleted or adjusted. If that happens there’s a solution: On the same Review tab and to the right of the Track Changes icon, you can compare two separate documents to find the changes by merging the edited document and the original. Watch a video HERE for details.

Get more details on the “Track Changes” function HERE.

How do TRACK CHANGES help you in your writing endeavors?

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  1. Hi Matthew – My editors use Track Changes with my novels and once I ACCEPT their changes I send it back with my corrections so they can remember what was initially written and what was changed. It’s a great tool, but distracting. There’s nothing better than an empty WHITE sheet of paper. I’m not fond of all the color, but I know it’s worth it.

    I used to exchange 3000 words a week with other writers, edit them in TRACK CHANGES, and email them back. It was an effective time-efficient tool to use and one that benefitted the recipient greatly because she could see the changes and comments quickly.

  2. I use track changes when I critique a ms. Makes it so much easier!!

    • Pat – Do you critique for other writers? I didn’t know that. Is it a part of your “brand?” I’m often looking for critiques. Do you charge?

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