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How to Red Line in Word: A Guide to Tracking Changes

how to red line in word

Microsoft Word is a powerful tool used by professionals, students, and writers worldwide. One of its most useful features is the ability to track changes, commonly referred to as “red lining.” This feature is incredibly useful for editing documents, collaborating with others, and keeping track of revisions. In this blog post, we’ll explore “how to red line in Word,” providing a step-by-step guide to using this feature effectively.

What is Red Lining in Word?

Red lining in Word refers to the ‘Track Changes’ feature. When activated, any edits made to the document – such as adding, deleting, or altering text – are highlighted in red (or another color, depending on the settings). This allows users to see what changes have been made at a glance. It’s particularly useful in collaborative settings where multiple people are editing or reviewing a document.

How to Remove Red Lines in Word

Once you’ve finished editing and reviewing a document in Microsoft Word with the Track Changes feature, you might want to remove the red lines that indicate changes. These red lines are crucial during the revision process, but they can be distracting or unnecessary in a final document. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to remove red lines in Word:

  1. Turn Off Track Changes: The first step is to ensure that the Track Changes feature is turned off. Go to the ‘Review’ tab and click on the ‘Track Changes’ button to toggle it off. This prevents any further changes from being tracked.
  2. Accept or Reject Changes: To remove the red lines, you need to accept or reject the changes made. You can do this individually by right-clicking on each change and selecting ‘Accept’ or ‘Reject.’ Alternatively, you can accept or reject all changes at once by clicking on the drop-down arrow next to ‘Accept’ or ‘Reject’ in the ‘Review’ tab and selecting ‘Accept All Changes’ or ‘Reject All Changes.’
  3. Hide the Changes: If you don’t want to accept or reject the changes yet but need to view the document without the red lines, you can choose to hide them temporarily. In the ‘Review’ tab, find the ‘Tracking’ group and click on the ‘Display for Review’ drop-down menu. Select ‘No Markup’ or ‘Original’ to hide the tracked changes. Remember, this does not remove the changes; it only hides them from view.
  4. Review the Document: After accepting or rejecting changes, review your document to ensure that it reads correctly and that no unintended alterations have been made.
  5. Save the Document: Once you are satisfied with the document, save it. It’s often a good practice to save a new copy of the document after removing the tracked changes to preserve the original version with the edits.
  6. Final Check: Before distributing or printing the document, do a final check to ensure all changes have been accepted or rejected and that the red lines are no longer visible.

By following these steps, you can effectively remove the red lines in Word, resulting in a clean, final version of your document. Remember, it’s important to thoroughly review changes before accepting or rejecting them to maintain the integrity and intended meaning of your document.

How to Activate Track Changes in Word

Here’s a simple guide on how to use the Track Changes feature, often referred to as red lining, in Microsoft Word:

  1. Open Your Document: Start by opening the Word document you want to edit.
  2. Find the Review Tab: At the top of the Word window, you’ll find a set of tabs. Click on the ‘Review’ tab.
  3. Turn on Track Changes: In the Review tab, look for the ‘Track Changes’ button and click on it to turn on the feature. Once activated, you’ll notice that any change you make to the document will be highlighted.
  4. Make Your Edits: As you add, delete, or change the text, Word will track these changes. Added text will be underlined, and deleted text will be shown as a strikethrough. The changes are usually displayed in red, but this can vary based on the settings or the number of reviewers.

Managing Track Changes

Once Track Changes is activated, managing and reviewing these changes is straightforward:

  • Viewing Changes: By default, Word shows all changes inline. However, you can change the view to see all changes in balloons in the margins. This option is found under the ‘Show Markup’ dropdown in the Review tab.
  • Accepting or Rejecting Changes: To finalize the edits, go through each change and choose to either accept or reject it. Right-click on the change and select ‘Accept’ or ‘Reject.’ You can also use the buttons in the Review tab to navigate through changes.
  • Turning Off Track Changes: To stop tracking changes, simply click the ‘Track Changes’ button again. This won’t remove the existing tracked changes but will prevent new ones from being marked.

Tips for Effective Use of Track Changes

  • Use Comments: Alongside tracking changes, you can add comments to provide explanations or suggestions without altering the text.
  • Track Multiple Reviewers: Word differentiates each reviewer’s changes by color, making it easy to see who made what change.
  • Combine Documents: If working with multiple versions, Word allows you to combine documents and track changes between them.


Understanding “how to red line in Word” is a valuable skill for anyone working with documents that require review or collaboration. The Track Changes feature in Microsoft Word is a powerful tool for tracking edits, providing clarity and efficiency in the editing process. Whether you’re a student, a professional, or just someone who needs to collaborate on documents, mastering this feature will undoubtedly enhance your productivity and communication.

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