• Dr. Giugi Carminati, Esq.

Basic Tech Literacy: Using "Track Changes" or "Redlining."

When you edit a document for someone else’s review, use track changes; not doing so is inefficient and therefore unacceptable.


I once asked a paralegal to make edits to a document. I specifically asked her to “Track Changes.” She paused and, with a blank stare asked, “What’s a Redline?” Don’t be that person. Just don’t. It immediately signals to the person you are asking that you don’t know how to use the tools of your trade. This in turn harms the trust they have in your ability to do the job. Lucky for you, you now have this manual to refer back to.


First, turn on “Track Changes” by going to “Review” and selecting, “Tracking.” This turns

on the Track Changes function. You can then choose whether you want the edits to show

up as you are making them or whether you want the document to appear “Clean.” You

do that by selecting the drop-down menu in “Tracking”:


Second, determine whether and how you want the edits to show in the edited draft:

  • All Markup: Shows all the markups in Red underlined for additions and red strikethrough for deletions, otherwise known as a “Redline.”

  • Simple Markup: Shows where changes took place but does not reflect all the changes in red and underlined or stricken.

  • No Markup: Doesn’t show the markup as a Redline, but reflects the edits made.

  • All Original: Takes the document back to its original.

When you edit a document, someone has to see those edits. They either need to know what you did to a document or they need to learn from the edits you made. Tracking Changes also cuts down on editing time because reviewers can look for changes rather than re-read entire documents. Don’t waste time, don’t waste resources.


This post is part of Basic Tech Tips for Legal Pros, available for download at http://www.GeekLikeAGirl.net.

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