A Tool That Will Change the Way You Review Papers


person writing on paper with pen

You may or may not be aware that word processing programs have a built-in tool that allows you to quickly and easily view what changes and edits have been made in your document. Kind of cool, right? It’s called “track changes,” and it’s a lifesaver in college.

When you’re writing a college essay, especially in a group project setting, using track changes can help you monitor the edits made to your document. Visualizing the edits and deciding which ones to approve can allow you to turn in the best possible version of your paper.

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So, what is track changes?

Think of the feature as an electronic editing pen. Suggestions and comments are linked to the document without changing the content.   It maintains a record of the changes made to the document and displays them right on the page. Users can tweak the file without deleting content or committing to a change. This function is incredibly useful when there are multiple contributors.

How do you turn it on?

Turning on track changes varies depending on the word processor you’re using, but it’s pretty simple. In Microsoft Word, click the Review tab in your toolbar, then select Track Changes. In Google Docs, click File, then select Version History. You’ll be able to review changes in this mode. Adding user comments in Google Docs is slightly different. Simply click Insert, then Add Comment. Google will automatically associate your sign-in information as the user - no need to set up your information like in Microsoft Word.


You can use track changes in all the Microsoft Office, Google Drive, and iWork supported programs. Adobe also utilizes track changes in the Creative Suite. So, whether you’re writing a college essay, developing a presentation or entering data in a spreadsheet, you can turn on track changes in most programs you’ll be using in college or at work.

We’re happy to introduce you to this tool, or if you’re already familiar with it, we hope this serves as a reminder to take advantage of it during your coursework. If you have any technical assistance questions about how to use it or turning it on, our our professors are happy to help you out!

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