Add Track Changes Toggle to Bottom of Page in Word 2016

A friend moved his family to Germany a few years ago, and he started posting regular updates on Facebook called “What I Learned This Week in Germany.” The posts are filled with witty observations about the differences of life in Germany and the U.S. or very practical tips about how to accomplish some task in his new environment.

What I Learned This Week in Editing

I’ve decided to copy his format for this blog and start posting regular updates on “What I Learned This Week in Editing.” Even though I’ve been editing for more than 30 years, there is rarely a week where I don’t learn something new about a word, a style guide, one of the software programs I’m working with, or from the material that I’m editing. This week, I’m focusing on one trick I learned about Microsoft Word 2016 for Mac.

Updating from Word 2011 to 2016 has been a bit of a struggle for me because I had my Word 2011 program customized just the way I liked it! Word 2016 is not that much different, but it’s just different enough to make me crazy while I’m trying to locate all my favorite shortcuts or replicate all my custom commands.

As an editor, I live and die by Track Changes, so that I can “show my work” to my clients. In 2011, I had found a way to customize the top ribbon so that the Track Changes button was always visible, but this feature does not seem to be available in Word 2016 for Mac. After searching multiple online Help forums and editing Facebook discussion groups, I finally found a tip that improved my productivity — and my mood.

Turns out that you can place a toggle for Track Changes at the bottom of the screen in Word 2016! Once you activate this toggle, it will show at the bottom of the file no matter what menu (Home, Insert, Design, Review, etc.) you have visible at the top of your screen. And the toggle command shows up whether you are looking at the file in “draft” mode or “print layout” mode or one of the other viewing modes that I never even think about using.

How do you turn on the Track Changes toggle at the bottom of the home screen in Word 2016?
  • Put your cursor into the small area at the bottom of the page — the little “box” that is beneath any page of any Word file.
  • Right-click. (This is called “secondary click” in the Preferences for my Mac mouse and trackpad. If you haven’t set up a secondary click option for your mouse or trackpad, do it now! You can’t even imagine how much information you may be missing!)
  • You will see a whole list of options of commands and information that you can make visible at the bottom of the screen. Tap Track Changes and a checkmark should appear beside it.
  • Now you should see a line at the bottom of your screen: “Track Changes: Off” or “Track Changes: On.”
  • Click that line to toggle Track Changes on or off!

So simple! And yet I had to learn about this feature on a Facebook editing thread. It’s taken me a while to get used to looking at the bottom of the page rather than the top of the page to engage or disengage TC, but I’m getting there!

And even better, when you right-click in the bottom of a Word page, you find a whole world of commands and information that you can store there. Play with these a little, and you may find some commands that you will be so happy to have at your fingertips at all times!

What’s your favorite discovery about Word 2016 so far?


January 15, 2018

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I highly recommend Tammy Ditmore to you. She has edited three of my books in the past two years. Each time, I have been impressed with her professionalism, and pleased with her ability to provide a po… Read more
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