Track Changes is a useful collaboration feature in Microsoft Word which allows two or more users to collaborate productively on one document. The feature does what the name suggests: once activated, it keeps track of changes made to the document, in the document, so that other people can see those changes, accept or reject those changes, and make changes of their own.
When I teach this to my learners in the Lab, I use the following exercise to allow them practical experience of the feature:
- Pair up with a fellow learner in your class.
- Create a new Microsoft Word document.
File>>Optionsto set the User name and Initials fields — type your full name and your initials into the respective fields.
- Type a basic letter: make loads of obvious spelling, grammar and formatting mistakes (write a letter to the headmaster asking for a civvies day).
- Activate Track Changes: select the
Reviewtab, click on the
Track Changesoption and select
Track Changesfrom the drop-down list.
- Save and close your document.
- Send the document to your classmate as an attachment to an e-mail
- Download and open the letter you receive from your friend.
- Check that Track Changes is activated (activate it if it is not already activated).
- Change the view to:
View All Markup
- Start correcting the mistakes that are in the letter. As you work you will see the corrections visibly being tracked in the document and in the panel on the right of the document. Your initials (set in step 3) appear with the corrections.
- Once you have finished your corrections, save and close the document and e-mail it back to your partner.
It is useful to note that should you wish to add a comment to a change that has been made, you can right-click the change message and select New Comment from the menu to do so.
Collaboration can happen in many different ways:
- Google Docs
- Microsoft Notebook
- Document Management System