I. Track that Change!
A. Introduction to the Track Changes Toolbar
One of the best tools a writer can use is MSWord. One of the best tools a beta-reader can use is also MSWord, though the reason as to why is different from what many would think. I'm not talking about the spell check; I'm talking about the Track Changes function/toolbar. This function is valuable, and allows you to slip changes into the document without harming the contents.
First, open up MSWord. Trust me. You're not going to pull this off in Notepad or Wordpad. I'll be using my discontinued fic for demonstrative purposes.
Look at your menu bar and all its shineyness (okay, not really, but still!). Go to Tools
and select the Track Changes
item. For all you lazy bums out there, you can also hit Ctrl+Shift+E and you won't have to use your mouse at all.
This is where it is. You may need to expand your menu if it's shortened.
By turning on the Track Changes
function, you now gain a spiffy toolbar to add to the one (or two) you already have. How awesome!
01 - Shows which version of the document you want to view.
02 - Toggles the visibility of many markups and related things that you'll be using.
03 - Go to the change before the current cursor position.
04 - Go to the change after the current cursor position.
05 - Accept changes
button and options.
06 - Reject changes
button and options.
07 - Insert Comment
08 - A spiffier highlighter than you get for school
09 - The actual Track Changes
function. This is mainly used when you are crossing out words.
10 - Reviewing Pane - where you can view selected comments and reviews.
That about does it for the intro. Now it's time to start changing stuff!
B. Make those changes!
1. Crossing out Text
Replacing is one of the most common things done in beta reading. Don't like a word? Replace it with a spiffier one. The trouble is, most people don't know about the awesome Track Changes
function and just delete (and forget about) the original word entirely. If you want to keep the original word in for reference, Track Changes
will help you.
First off, make sure that the Track Changes
function is ON.
Highlight the word you wish to replace. Here's an example if you're really dumbfounded.
Now, this part is easy. Just type the word you want. I want to replace "guess" with "think", so I type "think". This is what results:
Wow, wasn't that easy? If you want to stop the red underline (in case you want to keep typing), just toggle the Track Changes
function to OFF.
Easy. Highlight the text with your cursor, then you click the highlight button on the Track Changes
toolbar. Need I say more?
C. You got a bone to pick? - Using the Comment function
Comments are very useful for beta-readers. In MSWord, you can stick them in just about anywhere. To insert a comment, highlight the word/phrase you wish to comment on (or just stick your cursor somewhere if that doesn't really apply) and click the Insert Comment
button on your Track Changes
Or you can insert a comment from the menu as shown:
If you don't have markup enabled, find it here in the view menu and make sure it's selected:
Your comment will appear like this:
The text you highlighted will be marked by its own highlight, it'll have brackets around it, and it'll have the initials of the comment-maker on a tag, along with the comment number. On the lower part of your screen, simply type your comment. That's it. I know, it's stupidly easy. Hit the save button to save your entire document, which will in turn save the comment. That's all there is to it.
D. And the winner is... - Making decisions on the changes
Back to being the Author. You got your fic back, yay! But look at all these corrections! This is going to take you forever to re-format!
It's very simple. Put your cursor over a correction and click either the accept change or reject change button. You can also accept/reject all changes by selecting the respective option on the mini-menu for each button, indicated by the little down arrow.