How to Redline a Document in Microsoft Word: Step-by-Step Guide

Redlining a document in Microsoft Word is a method of tracking changes and making comments, which is especially useful for editing and collaboration. It allows you to see what changes were made, who made them, and gives you the option to accept or reject those changes. After completing the redline process, your document will be marked up with edits and comments for review.

After you complete the redlining process, a version of your document will be available with all the changes and comments made visible. This allows for an efficient review process and ensures that no suggestions are missed.


In the fast-paced world of content creation and document editing, collaboration is key. But how do you keep track of who’s done what in a document, especially when multiple hands and minds are involved? That’s where the art of redlining comes in, a feature handily available in Microsoft Word. Redlining is essentially the digital equivalent of taking a red pen to a physical document to track changes and add comments. It’s an invaluable tool for anyone involved in the editing process, from writers and editors to project managers and legal professionals.

Not only does it foster transparency in the revision process, but it also ensures that the document’s evolution is clear and organized. So, whether you’re a seasoned professional or a beginner, understanding how to redline a document in Microsoft Word will streamline your editing process and enhance collaboration efforts.

How to Redline a Document in Microsoft Word

Before diving into the steps, let’s understand what we’ll achieve. By following these steps, you’ll be able to track changes made to a document, add comments, and manage revisions efficiently.

Step 1: Open the document in Microsoft Word

Open the document you wish to redline.

Opening your document is the first step in the redlining process. Make sure you have Microsoft Word up and running and then open the document you need to edit.

Step 2: Go to the ‘Review’ tab

Select the ‘Review’ tab from the top menu.

The Review tab is your command center for redlining. This is where you’ll find all the tools you need to track changes and make comments.

Step 3: Turn on ‘Track Changes’

Click on the ‘Track Changes’ button to start tracking edits.

Once you turn on Track Changes, every edit you make to the document will be recorded. This includes deletions, additions, and formatting changes.

Step 4: Make your edits

Begin editing the document as you normally would.

As you edit, your changes will appear in a different color. Deleted text will be struck through, while new text will be underlined.

Step 5: Add comments

Select a word or phrase and click ‘New Comment’ to add your thoughts.

Comments are a great way to provide feedback without altering the text. They appear in the margins and can be addressed by the document’s owner later.

Step 6: Review changes

Use the ‘Previous’ and ‘Next’ buttons to navigate through changes.

Reviewing changes allows you to see what edits have been made and by whom, which is particularly useful when collaborating with others.

Step 7: Accept or reject changes

Right-click on a change to accept or reject it.

Once you’ve reviewed all the changes, you can decide whether to incorporate them into the document or not.


Enhanced collaborationRedlining in Microsoft Word makes it easier to collaborate on documents. It allows multiple users to make edits and comments, and the document owner can review and manage these changes efficiently.
AccountabilityWith redlining, each change is attributed to a specific user. This increases accountability, as it’s clear who made each edit.
Streamlined editing processThe ability to track changes and add comments simplifies the editing process. It ensures that all suggestions are considered and nothing gets overlooked.


Can be overwhelmingIf a document has many changes, it can become cluttered and difficult to navigate. This may overwhelm users and complicate the review process.
Learning curveThose unfamiliar with Microsoft Word’s Track Changes feature may need some time to get used to it. It can be a bit complex for beginners.
Potential for confusionWhen multiple users edit a document without communicating, it can lead to confusion and conflicting changes. Good communication is key.

Additional Information

While the steps above provide a solid foundation for redlining a document, there are additional features within Microsoft Word that can enhance this process. For instance, you can customize how you view the tracked changes – either in-line with the text or in balloons in the margin. You can also compare two documents side by side to see differences, merge changes from multiple reviewers into one document, and even lock tracking so no one can turn it off without a password.

Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t all click right away. The more you use the Track Changes feature, the more intuitive it will become.


  1. Open the document in Microsoft Word.
  2. Select the ‘Review’ tab.
  3. Turn on ‘Track Changes’.
  4. Make your edits.
  5. Add comments.
  6. Review changes.
  7. Accept or reject changes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I redline a document without others seeing my changes?

Yes, you can redline a document without others seeing your changes by turning off ‘Track Changes’ before you share the document. However, any changes made while ‘Track Changes’ is on will be visible to others who have access to the document.

How do I remove all the redline marks?

To remove all redline marks, you need to accept or reject all changes in the document. You can do this by going to the ‘Review’ tab and using the ‘Accept’ or ‘Reject’ options.

Can I redline a PDF document in Microsoft Word?

Microsoft Word is not natively equipped to redline PDF documents. However, you can convert the PDF to a Word document and then follow the redlining process.

How do I know who made a specific change?

Each change is tagged with the name of the person who made it. Their name will appear next to the change when ‘Track Changes’ is on.

Can I hide my comments from others?

Comments cannot be hidden and will be visible to anyone with access to the document. However, you can delete your comments before sharing the document.


Mastering how to redline a document in Microsoft Word is a must-have skill in today’s collaborative work environment. It not only streamlines the editing process but also brings clarity and accountability to document revisions. While it may seem daunting at first, the more you practice, the more proficient you’ll become.

So, the next time you’re faced with a document that needs reviewing, don’t hesitate to roll up your sleeves and dive into the world of redlining. Remember, each change you track and each comment you make is a step towards a more polished and collaborative final product.