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My co-worker sent me this InDesign file so that I could make some edits to the text. But they want to see what have changed, is that possible? Absolutely! As long as I use InDesign's Track Changes feature. The Track Changes feature lives inside the Track Changes panel, and you can find that of course up in the Window menu. It's a little bit hidden. You'll have to go to the Editorial sub-menu and then choose Track Changes. There are a couple of things you need to know about Track Changes. First, Track Changes only works on a story by story basis.
That is, you can have Track Changes turned on for one text frame and not for another. The second thing you need to know about Track Changes is that before you use it, you must go to the File Menu and choose User. The User dialog box is the way that you tell InDesign who you are, what's your name. If you don't type your name, InDesign's just going to assign you this name called Unknown User Name, and that's not really helpful to anybody. So, let's go ahead and type your name and then choose a color.
Now this is going to be your special color, so anybody who opens this document later will see your edits in your color. There are lots of different colors to pick from but I will encourage you, please pick a light color. I will show you why in just a minute but you want to make sure you have got light color. All right, I'm feeling sulphuris today so I'm going to choose Sulphur, and I'll click OK, and now let's see Track Changes in action. To turn on Track Changes for a story, you have to have the text cursor inside that story. So I'm going to double click with the Selection tool, that switches to the Type tool and places the cursor inside the story.
Now, I'm going to go to the Track Changes panel and click on the first button in the panel, the Enable Track Changes in Current Story button. When you do that, it highlights, and now Track Changes is turned on. Of course, if you're working on a document like this with lots of different unthreaded text frames and you're going to be making changes throughout, you don't want to have to click on each frame and turn that Track Changes on, that would be really annoying. Fortunately, you can go to the Track Changes panel menu and turn on Enable Tracking in All Stories.
That's a little shortcut. Now they're turned on throughout the entire document. Okay. Let's make our first change. My cursor is inside this middle story and I'm going to zoom in to 200% by pressing Command+2 or Ctrl+2 on Windows, and let's go ahead and remove some stuff and add some stuff. I don't like that bullet point, so I'm going to select it with a triple click, hit the Delete key, and it's gone. I'll come up here, let's move my panel out of the way, and add some new text, Some new text. There we go. You get the point. We're adding some text, we're removing some text, but there is something missing here.
Where are the tracked changes? Where is the indication that some text has been added or removed? Well, here's the rub. It only shows up in a Story Editor. As you know from my InDesign Essential Training title, I love the Story Editor, it's great and here is how to get there. You go to the Edit menu, come down here and choose Edit in Story Editor, or faster, just press Command+Y or Ctrl+Y on Windows. The Story Editor is a wonderful, neutral way to edit your text. You don't have to be worried about formatting, or text wrap, or difficult to read fonts or any of that, it's just like a simple text editor.
And best of all, Track Changes shows up. You can find your Track Changes in several ways. First of all, the most obvious, is that those changes are highlighted, and they're highlighted in my color. Remember I chose Sulphur, this kind of greenish yellowish color. Well anything that I added is simply highlighted. Anything that I removed, deleted, is highlighted and it has strikethrough, a line right through it. Another indication that there are changes on a line is this little blue line next to the ruler that indicates that somewhere on that line, there is a change.
That turns out to be really helpful when the change is very small, like maybe just a comma or some kind of punctuation change. Now as I said, some of this text is highlighted, some of it is highlighted and struck through, there's a third indication that you might see sometimes. For example, if I grab this word, material, and cut it to the clipboard with a Command+X or Ctrl+X on Windows, it deletes it, that's obvious. But I'm going to come over here and add some text, like advanced investigation of, and then I'm going to paste with a Command+V or Ctrl+V on Windows, and then hit S. So this reads advanced investigation of materials.
Well, see how this one word is both highlighted and has a black line around it? That indicates that the word has been moved, it was one place and now it's another. You get that when you either copy and paste the text or use drag and drop to move text from one place to another. Let's go ahead and close the Story Editor window, and I'll zoom back to fit the spread in window with a Command+Option+0 or Ctrl+Alt+0, and why don't I just make one other change as well, I'll grab some text here and replace that with an @ sign. Let me grab the Selection tool, and that looks pretty good. Okay.
So I'm done with my changes and I send them back to my co-worker, they open the document, and this is what they see. There is no indication anywhere that there are changes in this document, that I've used the Track Changes feature at all. I really wish Adobe would add something like a little flag that pops up and says, "Hey, watch out for the Track Changes," but no, we don't get anything like that. The only way that your co-worker is going to know that you've made changes with the Track Changes feature turned on is if you send them an email or add a note in the pasteboard or something that says, watch out for the track changes.
They can find the Track Changes like this. They'll place the cursor anywhere inside of a frame, they'll go to the Story Editor with Command+Y or Ctrl+Y on Windows, and they can either look through each story one at a time, which would be really tedious, or far better, go to the Track Changes panel and look for this little arrow. If the right pointing arrow is grayed out, that means there's no Track Changes throughout the document. But if it's black, and if you can click on it, then there are Track Changes in here. Let's try it out. I'll click on that button and it takes me to the first change.
You will notice that it opened up a new Story Editor window, which indicates it's in a different text frame, and it highlighted the text that was changed. Here in the Track Changes panel, it also tells me who made that change, when they changed it, and what kind of change it is. Is it added or deleted or moved? Now from here, I have a choice. I could leave it the way it is. There's nothing wrong with leaving the Track Changes in there, or I could accept or reject it. The Accept and Reject buttons are this check box and the X in here. I don't like that text so I'm going to reject it by clicking on the X. It just goes away.
It's like it was never there to begin with. Now I'll go to the next change, and I can see that's an okay to change, why don't we accept it? To do that, I simply click on the check mark. Now it's a little bit annoying having to click on the right arrow and then accept or reject and then click on the arrow again and so on, so there's a shortcut. Next time I find one that I'm going to accept or reject, I hold on the Option or Alt key and click on Accept or Reject. That means, accept or reject it, and find the next one. So, I'll go ahead and accept this one by Option or Alt-clicking on it.
It jumps to the next, and then I'll Option or Alt-click, and so on. Of course if there are hundreds of changes, it might be really tedious to go through one at a time. Fortunately, the Track Changes panel menu gives me some other options. For example I could say, Accept All Changes In > This Story, or even All Changes throughout the entire document. Or reject them. Or, I really like this one, Accept All Changes or Reject All Changes by a particular user. So for example, I might want to say, Accept All Changes by This User, if they were to, say, my boss' changes, and I just want to accept all of them. So I could do that if I want to.
In this case, I'm just going to do it one at a time because I know there aren't that many changes. I'll say, Option accept this, Option accept that, and finally, it takes me to this last change here, the replacement of the word At with an @ symbol. Once again, new text frame, so new Story Editor window. I have decided I don't like that change after all and I'm going to delete it, but notice that in the Track Changes panel, it says this is Added Text. That's because there were two changes made here. There was text added and text deleted, so I have to do each one of those one at a time.
I'll go ahead and delete that one, and then find the next one and then delete that one. Now I'm back to the way it was originally. Finally, I'll close all these Story Editor windows, proof my document one last time, and then I'm going to come back to the Track Changes panel and turn off Track Changes in all the Stories. I'll just disable it. You don't have to disable it, you could leave Track Changes on forever, really, but I like to just clean up the work that I've done and then leave it back in a non-track changes state when I'm done with it.
Now granted, I do wish that I could somehow see the changes here on the page layout, I think that would be useful, but, you know, I love the Story Editor window, it's a great way to edit the text throughout my document, and with Track Changes, it's a great way to see the changes that I and other people have made, too.
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