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Change the Default Color for Tracked Changes in Word 2007

25 February 2015

This information is covered in multiple areas, but if you don’t know that it is even possible, how can you conduct the search for how to do it?

I want to open by assuring you that I do love the color red. It is a great color. I do not, however, like using it when I mark up a document. I realize that many (probably most) people are not bothered at all by red marks on their manuscripts, but I did not write this for the well-adjusted people who have no problems. I wrote this for the rest of us.

When I edit a document in Word, I use Track Changes. By default, these changes are in a horrifying red. When I am done working on a manuscript, it looks as if I bled all over it! It is garish and disorienting. This is how I feel about that much red.

When I found that the standard editing procedure was to use Track Changes, I thought I was going to have to give up editing! Honestly, it bothered me that much. I thought that not only would I not want to have to look at a document that was all marked in red, but my clients would not want to, either.

I love editing more than I hate Track Changes, though, so I had to find a way. I started my highly technical method of mashing random buttons in Word to see if I could fix the problem. Eventually, I found a solution that worked for me.

On the Review tab, you will see the “Track Changes” button. It is in two parts. The top part just turns Track Changes on and off, the bottom part is a down-arrow that gives you three options: Track Changes, Change Tracking Options, and Change User Name. The first option is just a more complicated way to turn Track Changes on and off. The second one is the one you want to choose now.

You will get a menu. The picture below is just the top part of your menu, your menu will be much bigger and all the colors will be different:

Changing Track Changes 01

In the Comments box, it will likely say, “By Author” and have a red rectangle on top of a blue rectangle. This is where you change your color to whatever you want.

NOTE (only relevant if you have multiple contributors):

When you choose By Author, each contributor’s notes will be in a different color, but the color is chosen by Word; you have no control over the color choices.

When you choose your own color, each contributor’s notes will be in that color,you cannot give each commenter his or her own color.

This is a trade I am willing to make. I don’t need multiple colors; I just need something more calming than RED all over my work.

You can choose whatever color you like here. I chose blue because my favorite colors, green and dark green, were just too bright. Blue is a nice, calm color. It is dark enough to see, and light enough to see through. It says, “Oh, look at me. I am important, but you needn’t be upset. Everything will be okay.”

If you are a writer and you have sent your manuscript out to be edited, it is going to come back to you with the editor’s notes and changes. It is jarring enough to see how many suggestions your editor has without having them all hit you in the face with the color red.

Do yourself a favor and change the color of your Tracked Changes now, before you get your manuscript back. If you already have your manuscript back, and you find yourself feeling frustrated or anxious, adjust the color of your changes. Colors are important. Don’t let anybody tell you they don’t matter.

Things I Do That Might Be Considered Strange: When I go to a movie, I order the largest popcorn size they have. I only eat a few cups of it during the movie and take the rest home so I can have movie popcorn as a snack whenever I am struck by the whim. It lasts a good long while in a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.

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