Q&A: Tracked changes balloons are showing only what’s left!

QSuddenly Word is showing all changes clumped into a single marginal balloon, not as separate entries. And what’s showing in the balloon is what’s left, not what was deleted!

Sample of (nonsense) tracked changes consolidated into Balloons in the Markup Area at right vs. in the Review pane at left. Click to enlarge or look for the video of it in action, below.

ASo… this is a “feature” of Word: when there are too many changes to fit the individual balloons in the Markup Area, Word “helpfully” consolidates the changes into a single balloon. The fact that it’s showing a mix of the remaining parts with deletions is a bug. We’re stuck with this bug for now, so here are a few options for working around it:

A) Make space for individual balloons

  • increase line spacing until there’s room to display the individual balloons
  • add page breaks until there’s room for the individual balloons (a tip from MS support which seems highly impractical)

B) View changes a different way, not in balloons

C) Adjust the Markup Area width

  • widen the “Preferred width” for the Markup Area in the Advanced Track Changes Options dialog box or Preferences settings for Word for some help but not a complete fix (Mac & Windows instructions below.)

Windows users: click the little “expand” icon at the bottom right of the Track Changes area on the Review ribbon, then click the Advanced Options button shown at left to open the next dialog.

(Windows continued…)

Then in this dialog box, enter a Preferred width in the Balloons section at the bottom.

Mac users: In Word Preferences > Track Changes, adjust the width of the Markup Area in the Balloons section at the bottom left.

The results of a wider Markup Area:

Even with the Markup Area set to 20 cm, tracked changes are unhelpfully “grouped.”

You can report this bug at http://word.uservoice.com/.

See it in action!

Not sure what this looks like? Watch it in real time, here.



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Image of balloons by Peter H from Pixabay

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