When I’m editing for a client – whether that’s an academic author, a government body, a business, an organisation, or an individual – my focus is on making it easy for them to see the amendments I have made to their material. Track Changes is the ideal way to do that. I can also add queries or explanations using the Comments function.
But as anyone who has read through a heavily edited Word document will know, Track Changes can make the text difficult to read. Depending on the options chosen, corrections can appear within the text itself (deletions are shown as inline revisions/ strikethroughs - see below), or in the margin (as balloons connected to the text with coloured lines - see right). The whole thing can end up looking like an intricate tapestry. What’s more, it can be rather disheartening for an author to see their work covered in red, blue or green insertions and deletions and wonder whether there's anything left of their original text.
When it comes to sending the edited document back to the client, there are various steps you can take to help with readability and clarity. I usually send two versions of the document:
- ‘Tracked’ – a version that shows all the changes that have been made, together with all the Comments
- ‘Final’ – a version with all the changes accepted, but with the Comments still showing.
Alternatively, if the client prefers to read the end result and is not overly concerned with each amendment, the Final version is available. The document can be read without the distraction of coloured lines and corrections, and the Comments are still visible, so any queries or explanations are there for the client to see.