How to Track Changes in Google Docs (With Steps and FAQs)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published April 20, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

As more companies allow employees to work remotely, there is a growing demand for digital tools to help people to work collaboratively. Google Docs is among the tools that allow people to work on content in this way. Understanding how to use this tool can be helpful in making collaboration with others easier. In this article, we show you how to track changes in Google Docs, discuss the track changes function, highlight the advantages of the suggest edit feature in Google Docs, and provide answers to frequently asked questions about this feature.

How to track changes in Google Docs

Follow these steps to learn how to track changes in Google Docs:

1. Open your Google Docs file

The first step is to open the file where you want to track changes. You can also create a new file if you aren't working on an existing one. To create a new document, click on the page icon with a “+” near the top left corner of the home page. To track changes in an existing document, search the document's title in the search bar of the home page. You can also search for those who are working with you on the document.

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2. Launch the suggesting mode

While track changes is the commonly used term, Google uses the term “suggesting.” With your Google Docs file open, move the cursor to the top right corner of the screen. Click on the “Editing” menu, which gives you three options. These are editing, suggesting, and viewing options. The editing option allows you to work on the document where your changes are not tracked. To enable the track changes function, select the “Suggesting” mode. The “Viewing” option allows you to see what the final document looks like.

3. Share the document with others

Go to the top right corner and click on the “Share” icon. This allows others to access the document and see the changes that everyone makes in the file. There are two ways of sharing Google Docs. The first way is by emailing the document directly to everyone who is working on it. The second option is to create a link that allows others to open and see the document.

4. Track changes

With the suggestion mode active, you can then make edits within the document. Other people who are working on the same project can track the changes made to the document. Track changes in Google Docs highlights changes using strike-through text or colour codes.

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5. Accept or reject suggestions

The track changes feature in Google Docs allows you, as the file owner, to accept or reject changes made by other users. To see the suggestions, scroll to the right-hand side of the document. You can then accept or reject the changes. When you're ready to save the final version, it's important to turn off the suggesting mode if you don't want further suggestions made on the document.

What is track changes and why is it important?

Track changes is a feature that allows you to make, track, accept, or reject changes in a document. This feature also allows others to propose changes to the document through comments, which you can either accept or reject. Word processors such as Microsoft Word and Google Docs have this function.

One significant benefit of the track changes feature is that it allows users with access to the document to work on it in real time, making collaboration easier. It allows you to see the suggestion of every team member, depending on their comments. The timestamps on the comments show you when each change was made in the document.

Advantages of the Google Docs suggest edit feature

Here are some advantages of the track changes function in Google Docs:

Easy to use

The track changes or suggest edit function in Google Docs is simple to use. Your collaborators on the document can also easily make changes to it. The in-text suggest revision boxes are also easier to track.

The “Accept all” option has also made tracking changes in Google Docs a lot easier. If you're working on a file with many changes, you can accept or reject all the suggestions with a few clicks. Click on the “Tools” button on the toolbar, and then, from the drop-down menu, click on “Review Suggested Edits.” You can then accept or reject all suggestions. If you want to be more selective, you can use a pop-up box, which saves you the effort of scrolling through the document.

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Ability to preview suggestions

Google Docs has a feature that allows you to preview suggestions before accepting or rejecting them. To do this, go to the “Tools” menu and select “Review Suggested Edits.” While there, the drop-down menu provides three options. These are “Show Suggested Edits,” “Preview Reject All,” and “Preview Accept All.” You can then select the preview options to see what the document looks like with either option.

Easy to collaborate

The track changes function in Google Docs allows you to work on the same document with your colleagues in real time. With everyone working on the same document in real time, it's easier to see changes as they happen. The Google Docs track changes function allows you to see who made which comment on the document, making it easier to differentiate between document editors. You also see what time they made those changes. With options for cloud storage, users can access the document at any time.

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Manage your suggestions

Google Docs allows you to update permission levels when you're sharing a document with multiple users to restrict other users from editing. You can allow some users the privilege to suggest edits to the document and deny them the right to approve or reject suggestions. You can also allow other users to edit, which allows them to approve or reject changes. The last permission you can give your users is the “View” privilege, and these users can view the file but are unable to suggest changes to it.

Added potential for dialogue

Google Docs allows you to leave comments when you want to say why you've made changes. The “Suggest Edit” feature allows you to type notes or pose questions beneath the revision box. This allows the team to discuss issues pertinent to the document, enhancing collaboration.

Synchronization with other word processors

If some team members are not using Google Docs, it's possible for them to make their revisions in other word processors, such as Microsoft Word. This is because Google Docs easily synchronizes with most word processors. When you convert a Word file to a Google Docs format, tracked changes in the Word document automatically convert to suggested edits in Google Docs. This process also works in reverse, where suggested edits in Google Docs revert to tracked changes in Word.

Access by cell phone

Google Docs works seamlessly on cell phones. This makes it easier for a team to suggest edits while on the move. Tracking changes on a phone requires you to first download the Google Docs app. In the top right corner of your device's screen, there are three black dots and a drop-down menu that provides options to edit, add comments, accept and reject changes, and share and save the document.

FAQs about using track changes in Google Docs

Here are some helpful answers to frequently asked questions about the track changes function in Google Docs:

Is it possible to conceal edits in Google Docs?

You can hide all edits in Google Docs by following a few steps. Go to the “File” menu and select the “Version History” in the drop-down menu. Move the slider to the “Only Show Named Versions.” This allows you to hide all unnamed stored versions of the document.

How can you track comments in Google Docs?

Leaving comments is one of the best ways of discussing the document you're working on with your team. To see all comments and discussions in Google Docs, go to the upper right corner of the page and click on the chat icon to open the comment history. You can also use the shortcut Ctrl+Alt+Shift+A on a Windows computer.

How can you compare documents in Google Docs?

You can find the “Compare Documents” feature under the “Tools” menu. This tool allows you to compare documents and view what's different between them. This tool is important for tracking the changes added by you or other users.

How can you manage notifications for suggested edits?

You can turn on or off suggestion notifications. This is helpful in minimizing distractions. Go to the top right area of the screen and click on the “Comments” icon, which is in the shape of a speech bubble. Click on the bell icon and set how you like to receive notifications.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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