by Jennie Ruby
I had a student from one of my Editing with Word classes write to me in desperation. It seems that he had sent out a document for review. He had carefully followed the procedure for protecting the document for tracked changes, and he had sent it to four people. When the copies came back, every change was marked as coming from "Author." None of the changes were identified as coming from different people.
What happened to the function we had reviewed in class where Word shows you the name and initials of each reviewer-and color codes them to boot? My first assumption was that the reviewers' copies of Word were not personalized to have their name and initials to start with. My student checked, but the names of the reviewers and the initials were in fact registered correctly in the Word Options. In Word 2003, that function is found under Tools > Options > User Information. In Word 2007, that is found under Office Button > Word Options > Popular. Some of his reviewers were working in Word 2003.
Was it possible that changing the screen colors for tracked changes to something other than "By Author" had somehow erased the identifying information? A second test, making sure that the By Author setting was active throughout the process, again failed to reveal the makers of each change.
If they had all been working in Word 2007, I would then have guessed that someone along the way had used the Inspect Document tool to remove all personal information from the document. The Inspect Document tool is found by choosing Office Button > Prepare > Inspect Document. But the reviewers in question were using 2003, so there was no way anyone had used that tool.
We were, however, on the right track now. Word 2003 has a tool for removing all personal information upon saving a document. That tool is found by choosing Tools > Options > Security where there is a checkbox for "Remove personal information from file properties on save." This setting is also present in Word 2007, but only if you are working on a document that has been saved with that option in Word 2003. In the Word Options for 2007, you can find this tool under Trust Center > Trust Center Settings > Document Specific Settings. On most documents, that tool is grayed out as unavailable. But if you are, again, working on a document that had that setting when it was previously saved in Word 2003, that tool is active, and you can turn it off.
I love it when there is an answer. Microsoft Office has so many settings, across all the programs, that it is easy to feel gas-lighted by apparently bizarre and inexplicable behaviors. But I find that if you keep digging, and keep researching, and keep testing, you can find answers.
Got any weird track changes behaviors? Tips or tricks for tracking changes? I would love to hear from you.
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