I carry out most of my proofreading work in Microsoft Word, marking up revisions and queries directly in the document using the Track Changes tool. The markup looks like this:*
Track Changes allows the client to see all changes I’ve made and accept or reject them as preferred, thereby retaining full control over the text. Track Changes can seem a little daunting at first, but once you know how to use the tool, it’s easy to process changes.
Here are some tips for working with a file proofread (or edited) in Word 2013; other versions offer the same functionality, so explore to find the commands.
How to view the document
Use the Print Layout view. You can choose to have the Reviewing Pane on if you want to see every detail of changes (I work with this off, usually). To see it, click the Reviewing Pane button in the Review tab, and in the drop-down menu select either vertical or horizontal, depending on your preference.
How to turn Track Changes on or off
If you want any changes you make to the edited file to be tracked (for example, you’ve arranged for the proofreader to check them), leave Track Changes on. If you don’t want to see your revisions, turn Track Changes off by clicking the Track Changes button in the Review tab.
How to flip between the messy view and the clean view
Word automatically opens a document in the markup view, so you see a messy document covered in changes. The easiest way to look at changes is to keep flipping between the All Markup view and the No Markup view. The All Markup shows you all the changes the proofreader has made, and the No Markup view shows you the final, clean version of the file with all the changes integrated. You can move between the views by selecting them via the drop-down menu next to the Track Changes button.
If you want to move quickly and easily between the views, set up a keyboard shortcut as follows:
- In Word, go to File > Options > Customize Ribbon / Keyboard shortcuts: Customize.
- In the Categories field, select Review Tab.
- In the Commands field, select ShowInsertionsandDeletions.
- In the Press New Shortcut field, enter your keyboard shortcut of choice (I use CONTROL + Q).
- Click Assign and then Close.
Done. Now, when you want to switch between views, just hit your keyboard shortcut while in the All Markup view.
How to process changes one at a time
If you want to accept/reject each change in turn, you can either:
- Right-click each change and accept or reject.
- Click on each change and then click the Accept or Reject button in the Review tab.
- Work through the document by clicking on the Previous and Next buttons in the Review tab, and then clicking the Accept or Reject button in the Review tab.
How to process changes in one click
If you’re happy to accept all the changes in the document (you may have already scanned each or most individually), simply click the down arrow underneath the Accept button in the Review tab and select Accept All Changes.
How to deal with comments
The easiest approach is to read and deal with each comment in turn. (Make sure you can see them: you need to be in the All Markup view, or the Simple Markup View with the Show Comments button toggled on.) You can move to the next or previous comment using the buttons in the Comments section of the Review tab. When you’ve dealt with a comment, you can delete it either by right-clicking or by choosing the Delete button in the Comments section. Or, even easier, just leave all comments on until the end, and then click the down arrow underneath the Delete button and select Delete All Comments in Document.
If you need further guidance with Track Changes, check out the Microsoft Help files and online tutorials. It really is worth putting in the time and effort to get the hang of this tool, because doing so saves you a lot of time as you go through your proofread file, and makes it less likely that you’ll accidentally introduce mistakes.
* A quick note on the proofreading example: In order to illustrate how Track Changes markup looks, this example contains plenty of mistakes. In reality, if text needed this much markup, the service required would be copy-editing. Proofreading is a final read-through of edited text, to weed out the odd few mistakes that remain.