How to Handle ‘Track Changes’ Edits from Your Editor – for the non-techy author
When your Word document arrives back from the editor (that’s me) covered in Track Changes marks, and you’ve recovered from the delight/shock/overwhelm of all the changes and suggestions, the next step is to review the changes and work out what you want to keep. This extremely brief and non-comprehensive starter’s guide might help you avoid some of the pitfalls I see regularly…
• Go into your Word document and make sure the ‘review’ panel is open at the top of the page
• Some people like to click on ‘reviewing pane’ so a catalogue of all the changes appears on the left side of the screen
• If the reviewing pane adds to your overwhelm skip that step – it’s not vital
• Now put your cursor at the beginning of the first line of text in your document
• Press ‘next’ on the review panel. This will take you to the next change I’ve made
• Consider my suggestion, then press ‘accept’ if you agree with the change, or ‘reject’ if you don’t
• Use ‘previous’ or ‘next’ to move from one change to another
• The bubbles on the right side of the page are my comments directly to you. You can write back to me in the bubble if you want – that’s our chat room
• If you don’t know why I’ve changed something (such as when you see a word crossed out and written again), it’s because there was something wrong – usually too many spaces between the words or some little thing like that that is hard to see unless you are pedantic like me. Rather than ponder the true meaning of my correction, honestly it’s easier just to press ‘accept’ and then see if it looks right.
If you manually change everything, the chances are you’ll delete the work you’ve paid me to do and I’ll end up doing it again (and charging you again) in the next round of editing. So try doing it this way and see if it works for you.
It’s an automatic system that is meant to make life easier, but I know it takes a bit of getting used to. These instructions are just the basics; you can use Track Changes to do all kinds of funky things. If you aren’t confident with it or have better things to fill your day with, once you’ve addressed anything in the bubbles don’t hesitate to say ‘Alex, it looks fine, can you accept everything’. I can whizz through and get it finished, so don’t stress!
Good luck, and remember it’s always up to you what is changed – you are the author and these are your words!