by Jacqueline Hopkins
You’re an author and you typed your manuscript in Microsoft Word. You’ve sent your work out to an editor. You get it back and it has different color text mixed in with your black words and colored text boxes in the far right margin. It’s a mess you can’t make heads nor tails of. You ask yourself, “What on earth has the editor done to my masterpiece?”
If your editor uses the latest version of the software, they will have used the ‘New Comments’ features and ‘Track Changes’ under the REVIEW tab to edit your work. If you are into self-editing your work before you send it off to an editor, you can turn track changes on and use it yourself. Just go to the menu bar, click on REVIEW, then click ‘track changes’ to turn it on, and clicking it again turns it off. When it is on, if you type a change it will appear in a different color. It also strikes through words you want to delete using the delete key.
Now, here is how to accept the editor’s changes, reject them, and get rid of all those comments boxes.
First, open your document, click on the REVIEW tab in Word 2010 version (to the right of the big pink arrow) so you can see the Accept (#2), Reject (#3), New Comments (highlighted at far left – #4), Track Changes (highlighted in the middle – #1), and the Delete (#5) buttons. Those are the five I use the most.
To see what needs to be fixed, even a comma, which is hard to see, the software places a red vertical line beside the line of type where the change needs to be made. See the green arrow at left in the screen capture below.
To Accept a change the editor suggested, place your cursor in front of the editor’s suggestions (see red arrow below in front of the blue type). Then click on the Accept button. It automatically makes the change and changes the words from blue to black, and places the cursor for you in front of the next suggested change. You can go through the document lickety-split, clicking on the accept button (#1 in the first picture) with lightning speed and finish editing your document in no time flat. But if you do that, you won’t get the understanding of why the editor suggested the change.
You can also Reject your editor’s edits. Yes, really, you can. Go ahead, don’t be afraid. Just like if you type and make a mistake, you can click on the undo button – so if you change your mind, you can use the undo button here, too. But seriously. You can actually use the Reject button. The reason you may want to use it is when the editor is just making a suggestion that perhaps it would be better said this way or you don’t agree with your editor. It happens, sometimes. Really. Accept or reject and move on.
Now, here’s how to delete those comments in the far right margin. See the dark blue highlighted comment in the picture below (above the pink arrow). After I made the suggested change on the word ‘X-ray’, I clicked on the comment box to highlight it and then clicked on the Delete button (#5 in first image above) under the REVIEW tab, where you can also delete all comments in the document, too. You can also right click on the comment box and then scroll up to Delete Comment Box.
You can also add a comment within the editor’s comment box to explain to your editor why you agree or disagree with them. Perhaps your editor is in England and you are an American author or you are British author and your editor is in America. You can have a nice little
argument conversation going back and forth in that tiny comments box. If they are worth their weight in gold, and want to see your work again, they won’t charge you anything another arm for reedits.
This is really super easy to use. It makes for quick work for you, when you get the edits back from your editor. What may not be so quick is the time you spend deciding if you agree with your editor or not. It’s always wise to keep a dictionary, thesaurus and your favorite style manual close at hand so you can look up what they suggest. Seriously once you start using the editing features, you will be asking yourself how you managed to live without it all this time.
Jacqueline Hopkins-Walton is the author of Wilderness Heart, selected as a recommended read on USA Today’s Happy Ever Blog, and in December 2013 released Cookin’ with the Hopkins. She has contributed to the anthology Twist of Fate, where all proceeds go to help victims of the May 2013 Oklahoma tornadoes, and twice winner of the Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenges. Learn more at her Amazon author page.