Collaborate and track changes in Microsoft Office Word 2007

Learn how to track changes and use review tools in documents such as student papers with Microsoft Office Word 2007.

Collaborate and track changes

For years, the ubiquitous red pencil has been the primary tool for written communication between teacher and student. By using the Review tools in Microsoft Office Word 2007, you can turn cursory one-way feedback into a collaborative experience. Watch the video

How it works

First, students write and hand off their assignments digitally, using Office Word 2007. Then, you add comments to the document and return it with a grade. On long-term projects, students can use your comments to improve their documents with Track Changes turned on. You can then review their changes and return the finished document with a final grade or continue to collaborate.

Take collaboration to another level by assigning writing projects to student teams. Using revision tracking and comments in Office Word 2007, each student can contribute to a document individually, and then, the team can work together to collaborate on a final version. You can even add feedback to that version and send it back to the team for further work.

With the Review tools in Office Word 2007 and networking tools, such as e-mail and workspace sites (like Microsoft Office Live Workspace), a document can continue to grow and evolve through multiple revisions as students learn new skills and contribute new information.

Review tools

With the Review tools in Office Word 2007, class assignments, such as essays and complex math problems, can become more effective learning tools.  You have the time and resources to provide quality feedback. The Review tools help you to add comments and keep track of changes.

Add comments

  1. Open an Office Word 2007 document, and switch to Print Layout or Web Layout view.
  2. Select the section to which you would like to add a comment.
  3. On the Review tab, click New Comment. A comment balloon opens to the right of the document.
  4. Type your comment in the balloon.
  5. The student can then act on your comment, by rewriting a section. Or he or she can respond by sending the document back with a reply to your comment.

Track changes

  1. Open a document.
  2. On the Review tab, click Track Changes. Make sure Display for Review is set to Final Showing Markup.
  3. Edit the document. As you add or delete text, your changes are tracked using revision marks.
  4. After saving the document with the changes, the student writer or other collaborators can open the document and add their own edits. Edits from other contributors will appear in different colors, along with the contributors' names.
  5. When the document is finished, turn off Track Changes, and then use the Accept and Reject buttons to move through the document and choose whether to make a change permanent or to reject it.

Set up tracking and comments

  1. Click the arrow on the Track Changes button to change tracking options, such as the colors or user name.
  2. Click Balloons to change how comment and revision details are displayed.
  3. Click Review Pane to view comments and revisions in a pane on the left or at the bottom of the document window.

Teacher Tips

  • Post files for everyone

    Microsoft Office Live Workspace is a free, secure place to store and share documents with your class. You can easily upload large files and avoid the confusion of emailing to everyone individually.


To collaborate and share a document in progress, contributing writers and editors need to have easy access to working documents. A document can be sent through e-mail, stored as a shared document on a network location specific to your school, or uploaded to a file-sharing Web site, such as Office Live Workspace.


Attach a document to an e-mail message, or send it directly from within Office Word 2007. To use Office Word to send a document, first add the command to the Quick Access Toolbar.
  1. Click the Customize Quick Access Toolbar arrow at the top of the Office Word 2007 window, and then click More Commands.
  2. In the Choose commands from drop-down menu, click All Commands. Then, click Send to Mail Recipient, click the Add button, and then click OK.
  3. In the Quick Access Toolbar, click Send to Mail Recipient. After Word configures e-mail settings, the e-mail address pane opens.
  4. Enter e-mail addresses, a subject, and any introductory information, and then click Send a Copy.

Office Live Workspace

You can each create an online workspace for free. Then, a student can store the main document on his or her workspace and share it with others on the team. One such workspace site is Office Live Workspace. A workspace on Office Live Workspace includes a system for checking out files and tracking file modification.