Word 2010 lumping together comments and edits from different reviewers
February 24, 2014 10:49 AM   Subscribe

I created a document in Word 2010 and I am sharing it with two reviewers. When I turn on Track Changes, I can see my edits in one color, and my comments display my initials. But when the reviewers add their edits and comments and send it back to me, their comments end up the same color, and all comments, including mine, are now marked A# (A1, A2, A3). I can't see where my comments end and theirs begin.

Word is a necessary evil in my work, and I am no expert in it, but I could swear that Word 2003 and older versions didn't munge edits like that. I could clearly see who made what edit or comment via color-coding and initials, no matter what.

Is there something I can set in Options to make this stop happening? Do my reviewers have to make the same change in their installations of Word? If they're using Word 2007 or Word 2013, are we all SOL at making the document behave predictably?
posted by wexford_arts to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Three things. First, in your Review tab, on the Track Changes drop down menu, click on "user name" and be sure your name is inserted.

Second, in the File tab, be sure that the warning to the effect of "delete personal information on save" is not highlighted. I can't remember off the top of my head what the language is in the new Word program, but that was the old one.

Third, when you send it, be sure you do NOT scrub it. I have worked in environments in which, even if you choose not to scrub metadata, it will automatically check the "delete personal information on save" box. Then you need to find the appropriate workaround, which will depend on your office environment.
posted by janey47 at 10:56 AM on February 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: 1) My name and initials are in there (Word Options | General)

2) There's a Property Inspector, and it isn't deleting comments (thank goodness!). They're kept, but they all look the same no matter who created them.

I thought there was a workaround for this lumpen effect, but i just can't find it.
posted by wexford_arts at 11:08 AM on February 24, 2014

Do you have the "Prepare for Sharing" section on your File / Info tab? That's the one that may delete "personal" information (i.e., make all the authors the same).
posted by janey47 at 11:19 AM on February 24, 2014

Response by poster: Yes, here's the cap. It shows that comments are present, and I haven't clicked to remove them.

Any document I create, edit, revise with tracked changes turned on can be saved, closed and re-opened, and it will still show my name and initials as long as it stays on this computer. It's when it goes out and comes back that my changes and theirs all get lumped under "Author". I'm looking at one document right now. I can hover and see that changes are attributed to "Author", but only the timestamp gives me a clue if it's my change or someone else's.

If my reviewers have different settings, is that what could be lumping together revisions? (This didn't used to be the default and I HATE this.)
posted by wexford_arts at 12:27 PM on February 24, 2014

For whatever it's worth, I use Word 2010 in exactly the way you describe, including sharing documents with tracked changes between different versions of Word, and lumping things together in a single color as author is definitely not the default setting. To check your setting for this, go to the review tab, and then track changes/track changes options--under markup and formatting, make sure that the color settings in the right-hand column are set to by author, which has a little half blue, half red square next to it.

Assuming that's set correctly, my suspicion is that one or more of the people you're working with (or you, I dunno) has the document set to remove identifying information. In older versions of Word, this is controlled in the Trust Center privacy options, iirc. I believe that in Word 2010 it's under prepare for sharing, and looking at your screencap, if you hit "remove all" on the second "issue" that they've found, I think that you'll end up with exactly what you've described. But it doesn't sound like the problem is on your end--I'd have the people you're working with check their settings.
posted by MeghanC at 12:51 PM on February 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks! I think I have all the appropriate ones already set that way (see here).

I guess I have to talk with my office mates about this.
posted by wexford_arts at 1:10 PM on February 24, 2014

You know, reading your original post again more closely, I see that it's an issue when you get it back from someone else. Yep, it's what they're doing, not what you're doing. Good luck!
posted by janey47 at 3:09 PM on February 24, 2014

Just FYI this happens to me on OpenOffice. Does one of them use that by any chance?
posted by ClarissaWAM at 10:54 PM on February 24, 2014

Your officemates need to stop activating the Document Property Inspector to scrub metadata before saving and sending the file to you. But if they claim innocence, chances are that the scrub setting is already embedded in the file such that their names are removed from the marked changes each time they press save (and without any further action on their part).

In that case, this is what you need to do. Off the top of my head (I don't have MS Word open in front of me now) - Word Options > Trust Center > Trust Center Settings > Privacy Options > uncheck "Remove personal information on save".

It won't magically restore the names of the reviewers who came before you, but it will save your comments and the future reviewers from the same fate.
posted by hellopanda at 7:45 AM on February 25, 2014

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