How to track changes in word online?

Word online is a great tool especially if you are looking to track and show edits made on collaborative word documents. You and your coworkers will surely save the time and effort you need to put into editing multiple-word documents. Won’t it be simpler if you had everything online, easy to spot, and yes of course free? This post takes you through how to track changes in word online.

To track changes in word online in the review tab click on go-to tracking and select track changes. If the track changes feature is unavailable on your system you will need to turn off document protection. For this go to review > restrict editing and select Stop protection.

The changes you make to a word online document while tracking changes are like suggestions that you or your colleagues can review. They can either be accepted or removed. Here is how it is done

Turning track changes on and off on Windows (Windows 11)

On your Windows system turning track changes on is fairly straightforward.

  • Click on the Review tab select then Track Changes. Under this, you have two options For Everyone or Just Mine.
  • Choosing For Everyone will enable all users to make and track changes in the word online document while
  • Choosing Just mine will enable only your changes to be tracked.
How to track changes in word online

While editing the document you can turn on tracking by clicking on the dropdown menu. This menu is particularly helpful when shifting from one mode to the other.

How to track changes in word online
word online track changes using the dropdown menu

When making changes to a word online document in the track changes mode the deletions or edits are marked differently. Both the changes are in red the only difference being

  • Deletions in the word online document are marked with a strikethrough and
  • Additions in the word online document are underlined
  • If more than one author is editing the word document changes will show up in different colors.

When Track Changes is off the edits made to your word online document do not show up in red they go back to black or the color you were originally working with.

Please note: The changes you were tracking the deletions, as well as the additions marked in red (strikethrough as well as underlined), will stay until they are either accepted or rejected.  

How to identify a change in a word online document?

The line on the left margin indicates that there is a change in the paragraph. To view the changes, you can simply click on the line if it doesn’t already show.

Read How to add columns in word online

How to accept or reject changes in word online?

While editing documents using track changes it becomes necessary to either accept or reject changes. There are two ways to do this

  • Accept or reject changes from the drop-down section
How to track changes in word online
Accepting or rejecting changes in a word online document

The panel on the top has all the options handy, this includes accepting or rejecting changes. It also has options to move forward and backward through the document so that you find the next edit faster.

  • Accept or reject changes by right clicking the change
How to track changes in word online
Word online track changes – accepting or rejecting changes

This is a more straightforward way of accepting or rejecting changes.

Simply Right-click on the edited text and you can choose to accept the edit or reject it.

Read How to delete a document in word online?

Track changes unavailable in Word Online

If the track changes option is not visible or unavailable on your word online it could be that the document is protected. For this

Open word online document, Go to Review > Restrict Editing, and select Stop Protection.

You can also check in the panel above if the viewing option is selected. This simply means that the person is allowed to only view the document and not edit or review it.

How to track changes in word online
Track changes unavailable in Word Online

Read How to add page numbers in word online?

Commenting on the changes made in Word Online documents

It is always helpful when you can add a little note to edits done. The comments function while tracking changes makes it easier to understand and rectify documents to be edited.

In the dropdown menu, there is an option to add or show comments. You can add and read comments by just clicking on the show comments or adding a new comment option.

How to track changes in word online
Commenting on edits made in word online documents

There is also an option to read all comments posted on the word document. This way you can view all edits and comments simultaneously. Comments from different users show up in different colors.

Commenting on the changes made in Word Online documents
Commenting on the changes made in Word Online documents

Like changes, you can either accept or reject comments. You can also have a counter comment to explain a certain edit or clarify.

Read How to separate pages in word online?

How to track changes in word online – macOS

Turning track changes on and off on macOS (newer version)

To track changes on macOS click on the Review tab and the dropdown section will have a slider to turn Track Changes on

All changes made in the document will show if you hover on the line in the left margin near paragraphs edited.

Edits from different devices or individuals will show up in different colors. This makes it easier to keep track of edits. You could also assign roles to people and restrict their access to the document. The options available include read-only where they cannot make any editorial alterations to the document but only view it.

When someone adds a comment, it will show up as a balloon. You can read and reply to comments by clicking on the bubble.

Read How to insert shapes in Microsoft word online?

How to track changes in word online on MacOS?

Comments in balloons can be a little distracting especially if there are too many of them. To make things simpler there is an option to show all revisions in line for this

Go to the Review tab > select Markup Options

Point to Balloons for a side menu and select Show All Revisions Inline.

Read How to enlarge Microsoft word online

Lock track changes or unable to track changes on macOS

The primary reason why you cannot track changes in a document is that it is a read-only file or you have only viewing access. For this, the person sharing the file needs to give you permission to edit.

Did you know you can lock Track Changes with a password?

For this go to the Tools tab select Protect Document and then click on Tracked Changes

You will then have a password box where you can enter a password of your choice and select OK.

This way the track changes will still be on but only you will be able to accept or reject them.

To turn off track changes simply go to the Review tab and Turn off Track Changes.

You may like the following word online tutorials:

In this Word Online tutorial, we saw:

  • How to track changes in word online?
  • Turning track changes on and off on Windows (Windows 11)
  • How to accept or reject changes in word online?
  • Track changes unavailable in Word Online
  • Commenting on the changes made in Word Online documents
  • How to track changes in word online – macOS
  • How to track changes in word online on MacOS?
  • Lock track changes or unable to track changes on macOS
  • Did you know you can lock Track Changes with a password?