Tracking Changes in PowerPoint Slides

Forced to edit a slide presentation and missing Word’s Track Changes? “Compare” to the rescue! Just save the PowerPoint file with a new name, and make your changes. Then, select Compare on PowerPoint’s Review ribbon. (Only Windows users get this option, sorry Mac users.)

Writer’s who are comfortable with accepting and rejecting tracked changes will have to adapt only a little to navigate the PP markup that is shown in pop-ups summarizing the changes.

How to Edit

Open the original file in PowerPoint and make the changes (edits) and save your work under a new file name, such as “[title] rev1.” That’s it.

How to Compare PowerPoint Slide Changes (Track Changes)

  1. Open the original file.
  2. On the Review ribbon, click Compare and select the edited file.
  3. Click Merge.

How to Accept and Reject Changes

  1. Click on each edit icon to review the differences between the files in that particular content block.
  2. Click the box beside an item to accept it/show it. Unchecked items are effectively rejected.
  3. Save the file.
Each edit icon will open a pop-up summarizing the changes/differences in that content block between the files. Click a checkbox to show/accept the difference—they’re summarized in the Revision pane at right too. Just like Word’s Track Changes, you have to select/accept BOTH the deletion and the insertion.

Comments are marked by speech balloon icons. Click on the icon to open the comment in the Comment pane on the right. There you can reply to a comment, delete it, etc. These ARE saved with the file, unlike the Compare markup.

Troubleshooting

To make use of your Word processes and tools, you can export the content, but you’ll have to input/transcribe the changes directly in the PowerPoint slides as there’s no way to import them from Word.

PowerPoint “Compare” is a shadow of Word’s Track Changes and even of Word’s Compare Docs feature. The significant differences include:

  • The changes are listed in a pop-up, not shown in-line.
  • There’s no option to see No Markup/Final or All Markup, etc. That is, you can’t switch between original and edited views.
  • There’s no way to accept all changes at once. (Though closing the file effectively rejects all changes that weren’t check marked.)
  • Markup (annotations) can’t be saved, the comparison has to be generated each time by the user.
  • If you don’t make it through reviewing all the differences (changes) before closing the file, you’ll have to run the Compare again.
  • Just like a Compare Docs in Word, there’s no way to show changes by different reviewers/editors.


Got a gnarly Word problem? Submit your problem and we’ll try to answer it in the new Q&A thread.


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