9. Track and Manage Changes
Are you working collaboratively on a document and want to keep track of who has made which changes? Pages, Word, and Google Docs all offer tools for tracking the changes in your documents. Using these tools you can see who has made changes to a document, accept or reject changes, and add comments.
Word: Open the Tools menu, select Track Changes, then choose Highlight Changes. This opens a dialog box where you can select options for how you want to track your changes. The Options button in this dialog box lets you change the way the text you’ve changed will appear in the document. If you want to see your changes as you type, check the Track Changes While Editing box.
To manage changes to your document, click the Review tab on the toolbar. You can add comments, navigate through document changes, and accept or reject comments and changes. Clicking the Review Pane button in the toolbar opens a sidebar where you can see and navigate through all a documents changes at once.
Word also offers options for securing the document with a password, so you can control who can comment on, track, or make changes to a document. Word will not track position changes you make to objects in your document, but it will track the insertion and deletion of objects.
Pages: To begin tracking changes, click the Edit menu and select Track Changes. This reveals a new toolbar just below the main Pages toolbar and, when you start typing, changes the way your text appears on the page.
To view changes made to the document, click the arrows on the left side of the toolbar; Pages displays an informational box shows you who made the change or comment, tells you when it was made, and provides options for accepting or rejecting those changes. Accepting a change removes the tracking information for the text or comment and returns the text color to whatever is normal for that paragraph.
You can change the way the Track Changes tool behaves by clicking the Action (gear) menu to the right of the toolbar. Note: Pages tracks only text changes in your document; it does not track changes you make to images or graphics you’ve inserted.
Google Docs: Google Docs’ track changes feature is limited but still useful. To see document changes, open the File menu and select See Revision History. This reveals a sidebar with a list of all versions of the document. Selecting an item in the list displays a copy of your document at that point in time, with changes made to the document highlighted by color.
While it isn’t possible to accept or reject changes made to a document in this interface, it is possible to restore older versions of documents you’ve worked on and to copy text from one version of a document and paste it into your most current version. Also, unlike both Word and Pages, Google Docs tracks all changes made to the objects in your document.
10. Create and Manage Paragraph Styles
Paragraph styles are a powerful tool that few people use. Using styles you can capture information about text you’ve formatted—fonts, font sizes, line spacing and indentation, italicization and bolding—and change any paragraph to match that formatting with a single click.
Word: Open the View menu and select Styles. This opens Word’s toolbox with the Styles tab selected. Word uses a pick-list for changing paragraph styles. After typing some text in your document, scroll through the list of available styles and click one. Note that your text will change to reflect that style.
To make changes to an existing style, hang your mouse over the style appearing below the text that says, Current style of selected text, click the small down arrow that appears, then select Modify style… This opens a Modify Style dialog window where you can make more changes to the existing style or you can just click OK to accept the changes you’ve already made.
To create a new style from the changes you’ve made to an existing style, follow the same steps above, only select New Style from the menu. This opens a New Style window where you can name your style, make additional changes or simply accept the changes you’ve made.
To create a new style from scratch, click the New Style button in the Style Toolbox. A New Style dialog will open, which is exactly the same as the New Style dialog you just saw. Use the text and paragraph formatting tools in this window to create and name your new style.
Pages: With a Pages document open, type some text on the page then make sure the Format sidebar is open by clicking the Format button on the toolbar. At the top of the sidebar you should see the word Body with a small arrow next to it. Clicking that arrow reveals a Styles menu containing a collection of styles that are part of a default Pages document. Select one of those styles and you’ll see the text in your document change to match the style you’ve selected.
You have two options for creating your own styles: You can save changes you make to an existing style or create your own from scratch.
To change an existing style, make changes to the text in your document so it looks the way you want it, including spacing, indents, alignment, and so on. Now, look at the Style menu and you’ll see a button that says Update. Click that button, and the style will change to match the formatting you’ve created. Also note that all of the paragraphs using that style in your document will change to reflect the updated style.
To create a new style without making changes to an existing one, open the Style menu and click the plus-sign button that appears next to Paragraph Styles. This adds a new style to the list of Styles available in the document. To manage styles used within a document, hover your mouse over an existing style and click the small arrow appearing next to the style name. This reveals a menu you can use to make changes to and create keyboard shortcuts for existing document styles.
Google Docs: Google Docs does not currently offer an option for creating paragraph styles.