Track changes is a useful tool in Microsoft Word that you can use when you are editing your dissertation. It allows you to keep track of changes that you make to a document: you can see what your original dissertation document looked like, as well as any changes that someone makes to that document.

Why Use Track Changes

Track changes is useful if you are having more than one person read, comment on, and edit your dissertation. Perhaps you have a dissertation writing group. If you ask your dissertation writing group members to use track changes when they edit or make comments on your dissertation, you'll be able to easily keep track of any changes that each reader makes. You can also ask your dissertation advisor or dissertation editor to use track changes when they read your dissertation chapters so that you can easily see their suggestions.

Getting Started

Start by turning track changes on. As Tech Republic explains, you'll find this option in the “Review” tab in Microsoft Word 2013.

What Can I Expect to See?

When you turn track changes on, it means that all alterations will be visible. Sections that are changed will in a different text color. Sections that are deleted will appear with a strikethrough. Sections that are added will be underlined. You will also see a vertical line in the margin beside any edited sections. If multiple readers edit your dissertation, each person's changes will appear in a different color. This makes it very easy to see where changes have been made, and who made them.

What if I Don't Want to See All of the Changes?

Simple! You can choose how much you get to see, and in which format. The default mode, described above, is “All Changes Inline.” This means that it shows you all of the changes in the body of the document. There are also options to see revisions in balloons that appear in the sidebar. You can also tell Microsoft Word to record, but not show, the revisions or markup. You can also choose the “Simple Markup” option, which shows only a red vertical line adjacent to the edited text. You can click on that line to reveal the full markup. PC World recommends using this option if you like working with a cleaner document on your screen.

But What Do I Do With All of These Changes?

Track changes also makes it easy to keep or ignore the changes that your readers suggest. When you select the section that is changed, a menu appears that allows you to choose “accept” to keep the change, or “reject” to reject it.

Using Comments

Maybe your dissertation writing group members or dissertation editor wants to make comments about your dissertation. They can use Microsoft Word's comment function. To insert comments, your reader can position the cursor or select the text at the location they'd like to comment on. Then, they simply hit “New Comment” in the menu, which will bring up a bubble in the margins where they can write their comment.

Finalizing Changes and Dissertation Formatting

Before you turn in a final version of your dissertation, you need to make sure that there are no extraneous markups floating around your document! Microsoft recommends using the “Inspect” function to double-check. To find it, click the button that opens the main drop-down menu, move your cursor over “Prepare,” and choose “Inspect Document.” This will reveal whether there are any markups that you've missed, and you can accept or reject them.

Track changes makes keeping track of your dissertation editing much easier. You can use it when you work with a dissertation editor from It's an easy way to keep track of any changes that you need make to your dissertation formatting. Our dissertation editors can also help with dissertation review, and dissertation formatting in APA, MLA, Chicago, Bluebook, or any other major style.
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