3: Using Track Changes.

With the document file open in Microsoft Word, you should see something like the following:During the past decade or so the problem of writing user-centered fomputer documentation has been one of the most talked-about problems in professional communication. The reasons for this widespread dialogue are many, and the scope for this chapter will not be to expound on all of the debated regarding the processes and techniques for cresting computer user instructional materials. Instead, I will limit the focus by examining one general question that in many ways has driven the multitude of discussions surrounding computer documentation: Why can’t users use computer documentation, whether in print or online form?

Notice that in the first sentence, the word "computer" is misspelled. Let's also assume that, in your professional opinion, there should be a comma after the first phrase "During the past decade or so." With Track Changes, you can mark and correct these problems in much the same way as if you were editing with pen and paper.

We'll begin by turning on Track Changes. When Track Changes is on, Word keeps a record of every change that you make to a document. There are two ways that you can turn it on or off:

  1. From the ribbon menu, click the "Track Changes" button:The track chages button.
  2. Or, type [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[E].

Now that Track Changes is on, you can fix the problems in the first sentence. After you've made your changes, you should see something like the following:

During the past decade or so, the problem of writing user-centered fcomputer documentation has been one [...]

Notice that the stuff you added is in color and underlined, while the stuff you deleted is struck out. All this markup gets saved with the file, and it's what the writer will see when they open the document. Experiment by making other changes to the document, including changes to the formatting.

Depending on the which view Word is set to, you can see what the document will look like with all the changes in effect (the Final version) or what the document originally looked like (the Original version). To change between the views, use the pulldown menu on the review toolbar:

A drop-down menu with the following four choices: Final Showing Markup, Final, Original Showing Markup, Original.

You can also change the way that Word will display your changes using the "Balloons" menu:Pulldown menu with the folowoing three options: Show Revisions in Balloons, Show All Revisions Inline, and Show Only Comments and Formatting in Balloons.

Selecting "Show Revisions in Balloons" will display your changes within the right margin of the document, rather than inside the body of the text.

Next >>