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

track_changes_header

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 To do this, I opened up the BASE MS Word document (the document where the changes were originally made from) and then used the Compare and Merge Documents… functionality (located under the Tools Menu) to compare it to the document that had the new changes.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
    • CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + SPACE
  • 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…

choose_to_customize

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

choose_keyboard

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

select_tools_key_class

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).

key_for_accept_changes

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

accept_key_for_accept_changes

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
    WordBasic.AcceptChangesSelected
    WordBasic.NextChangeOrComment
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.

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

  1. Thank you so much for the shortcuts! This is EXACTLY what I was hoping to find in my Google search. I added one more macro, RejecttChangeAndViewNext. I assigned the following shortcut keys for these two:
    AcceptChangeAndViewNext – CTRL ALT SHIFT UpArrow
    RejecttChangeAndViewNext – CTRL ALT SHIFT DownArrow

    Now my review changes is a cinch!

  2. Thank you very much! Using Macro + Shotcut key is very convenient! This is even more than what I was looking for ;)

  3. Hey thanks for posting this… ‘AcceptChangesSelected’ doesn’t come up under the Review Tab commands in Word 2010, it’s tucked away under All Commands, and I didn’t know that was what I was looking until I read this ;-)

  4. I found this post a couple of years ago and it saved me a lot of headaches. I’ve been using the keyboard shortcuts for accept change and reject change ever since.

    I just upgraded to Windows 7 and Office 2010, and similar to Matt, I tried to add the same keyboard shortcuts. Here’s the weird thing — on the review ribbon, the default option for accept or reject change is to do the action and then advance to the next item. However, I don’t want to advance, because I often need to make additional edits at the place where I’m accepting or rejecting the comment. So, like Matt, I found the option for ‘AcceptChangesSelected’ etc. in the keyboard shortcut section, and I applied the new keyboard shortcut. The only thing is that it doesn’t stay put — it still advances! Damn you Microsoft! Has anyone else had this problem?

  5. This is so good. Thank you very much. Precise and practical.
    I am still using MS Office 2003. Wish Microsoft did not go too far to force everybody to LEARN something that is not useful. I am now using Windows 7, but wished Microsoft did not try to go follow Apple too closely.

  6. we all are really thankful to you. we are using ms word 2003.it is very helpful to us . thanks for all these things. its simply super.

  7. In response to Steve’s post on February 8th, if you right-click on the change and choose accept or reject, it will stay on the change and show what it looks like after that action (without jumping ahead). You may be able to record that action as a macro and assign it a key combo if you want to avoid the clicking and stick to the keys.

  8. There is a much simpler way to do this, built right into Windows/Office.

    1. Place your cursor within the text marked with a revision
    2. Press the windows context menu key (between the Alt and Ctrl keys to the right of the spacebar), or Shift + F10 if your keyboard isn’t a Windows keyboard
    3. Select “e” for accept and “r” for reject

    (Works in Office 2010 and perhaps earlier.)

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