Useful Keyboard Shortcuts for Microsoft Word’s ‘Track Changes’


Is anyone tired of repeatedly clicking on the annoying Track Changes buttons in Microsoft Word? I know I was, so I created some keyboard shortcuts to help save some of my time and sanity.

Inciting Incident

Today I was merging some changes in a very large Microsoft Word document (which didn’t have track changes turned on). To do this, I opened up the BASE MS Word document (the document where the changes were originally made from) and then used the Compare and Merge Documents… functionality (located under the Tools Menu) to compare it to the document that had the new changes.

The result of the above produces a merged document with Track Changes turned on; however, the bad part is that it had a couple hundred changes that I had to manually review for accuracy. Moreover, I had to accept the changes that were correct, and fix the ones that weren’t; therefore, I couldn’t just accept all the changes at once.

This made me a sad panda because that meant I had to click the “Next Change” and then “Accept Selected Changes” or “Reject Selected Changes” buttons over and over. However, then I remembered that keyboard shortcuts were meant to simplify these types of problems.

SIDE NOTE: Now here’s Billy Mays to talk about Keyboard Shortcuts…

Feel the Power of Keyboard Shortcuts!

Teh Shortcutz

The keyboard shortcuts that I chose to map were much like the Emacs keyboard shortcuts during a string replacement. Here is the map of the Microsoft Word commands and the keyboards I mapped:

  • AcceptAllChangesInDoc
    • CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + !
  • AcceptChangesSelected
  • RejectChangesSelected
    • CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + DEL
  • NextChangeOrComment
    • CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + n
  • PreviousChangeOrComment
    • CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + p

You will find these MS Word commands to bind to in the Customize Keyboard dialog box.

Teh Methodz

To bind keyboard shortcuts to the Track Changes commands, do the following steps:

1.) Select the tiny arrow at the end of the Reviewing Toolbar, click Add or Remove Buttons and select Customize…


2.) Select the Keyboard… button at the bottom of the dialog box


3.) Select the Tools category and find the command you want to bind (@see the list in the previous section)


4.) Once you have selected the command you want to bind (#1 in the figure below), put your cursor in the shortcut key area and type the combination of keys you want to use to invoke that command (#2 in the figure below) and click Assign (#3 in  the figure below).


5.) Notice that the command now has your specified key in the list of Current keys, and hit Close


6.) Pat yourself on the back. You now have a way to easily navigate any tracked changes!

Advanced Mode

I then decided that I was still pressing too many buttons, and I wanted to make it function even more like the Emacs replacements.

In Emacs, when you hit SPACE in a replacement, it replaces the curent occurrance automagically goes to the next occurrence.

Well, I then made the MS Word Macro that emulates the Emacs functionality…

Sub AcceptChangeAndViewNext()
    ' This next line to disregard errors
    On Error Resume Next
End Sub

Just create the macro using the above code, and go to the Keyboard customization dialog box, and instead of selecting ‘Tools’ from the categories list, select the Macros category and pick the AcceptChangeAndViewNext macro and bind it to your favorite keyboard shortcut.

64 thoughts on “Useful Keyboard Shortcuts for Microsoft Word’s ‘Track Changes’

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