MS Word

Use "Compare and Merge Documents" to Highlight Untracked Changes

The Problem:

My colleagues helpfully turned off Track Changes before editing the documentor maybe I forgot to turn it on. Either way, I've got four versions of a document without revision marks, and I need to integrate all the worthwhile changes.

The Solution:

In Word 2003 and Word XP, you have several options for merging documents. Open the original version of the document, and choose Tools » Compare and Merge Documents. In the Compare and Merge Documents dialog box, select the first of the other versions of the document, click the drop-down arrow on the Merge button, and choose "Merge into Current Document." Word merges the documents and marks the changes with revision marks. If the results of the merge look okay, repeat the procedure to merge the next of the edited versions of the document. Check the results again, and then finish the merges.

If you don't want to merge the selected version of the document into the open version of the document, you can press the Merge button to merge the open document into the selected document, or you can click the drop-down arrow on the Merge button and choose "Merge into New Document" to merge the documents into a new document.

If your colleagues have made extensive changes to the document, the merged version will look like the site of a major editing battle, but it beats manually integrating the changes in each of the versions of the document.

Check the Legal Blackline box in the Compare and Merge Documents dialog box to turn the Merge button into a Compare button and remove the drop-down list from the button. Legal blackline uses revision marks just like the compare-and-merge commands, but it always creates a new document to ensure that neither of the documents you're comparing gets changed.

In Word 2000, you don't have so many options for merging documents. Open the original version of the document, choose Tools » Merge Documents, and select the first of the other versions to merge it into the open version. Repeat as many times as necessary.

Prevent Other People from Turning Off "Track Changes"

The Problem:

I'd like to force my boss to use Track Changes for the edits she makes to a report, but she claims that seeing the changes "impacts" her creativity and spontaneit-y.

The Solution:

Good for her, I guess. Have you tried protecting the document for tracked changes, but turning off their display? Your boss then won't be able to turn off Track Changes unless she knows your password. To set this up, in Word 2000, choose Tools » Protect Document, check the "Allow only this type of editing in the document" box; select "Tracked changes" in the drop-down list; click the Yes, Start Enforcing Protection button; and enter a password. In Word XP or Word 2003, choose Tools » Protect Document, select the "Tracked changes" option, type a password, click the OK button, and confirm the password.

If your boss is being suitably creative and spontaneous, she may not look at the TRK telltale on the status bar, which will be the main indication that changes are being tracked.

If tracking changes semi-surreptitiously isn't a go, just let her edit the document without protection and use the Compare and Merge Documents command to spotlight the spontaneity for you. See the previous Annoyance, "Use 'Compare and Merge Documents' to Highlight Untracked Changes," for details.

by BrainBellupdated