Today we’re going to talk about how to work with an editor and make it simple to get feedback from your beta readers. Authors should know Word’s basics as well as how to redline in Word (or Track Changes) in order to effectively incorporate markups and revisions into your manuscript.
Beta readers? You might ask. When you finish your manuscript’s draft, you’ll want to get opinions from others. While you could print out the tome and hand your readers a red marker, it’s easier to incorporate the feedback electronically.
You can markup revisions automatically in Microsoft Word by using the redline feature called Track Changes.
How to Redline in Word
Whether you a writer sending things out for editing or someone who needs to make changes, you’ll find communicating in this manner applicable.
When you’re ready to start editing, go to the Review pane and turn on Track Changes.
(The version of Microsoft Word illustrated in this post refers to Office 2010, but the options are similar in older and in more recent versions.)
With the Track Changes option on, when you type in the document any modifications you make will be redlined. (Note: Redline doesn’t always mean the color red will be used to indicate changes. There are other factors—such as the number of people working on the document and other settings—that could make your changes appear in a different color.)
Revisions you make will be tracked automatically. It’s not necessary to change font colors or use strikethrough. Word does this for you.
Some people have difficulty communicating changes they think should be made. You want to suggest revisions, but keep the author’s original intent. As a rule of thumb, make “edits” to the text where you find errors or want to be specific about your changes. Comments are good for generalities, ideas the author should consider, or even words of encouragement: “Great job here! I can really feel the story’s tension.”
Want to make a suggestion to the writer, select the New Comment option and type your feedback.
Comments are a great way to provide input to the author without changing the manuscript.
Taking the time to use Word’s Track Changes and redline an author’s manuscript will help them (or you) create solid work.
REVIEWING AN EDITOR’S CHANGES
When the author receives a redlined document back, they can easily go through each change and accept or reject them.
From the Review Pane, use the Accept and Reject options. Start at the beginning of the document (your cursor at the top of the manuscript), hit the Next button and Word will take you to the first change.
When your cursor is on the change, you can accept or reject the edit by selecting either the Accept or Reject options. There are submenus below these options that are self-explanatory.
If you select Accept and Move to Next, Word will automatically take you to the next revision.
Rinse and repeat until you’ve gone through all of the document’s changes.
Don’t forget to review the comments too. Take note of the editor’s suggestions. To delete a comment, from the Review pane, select Delete.
You can also delete all comments in the document by selecting the applicable option from the submenu.
Sometimes in editing a document, I find it helpful to toggle back and forth between the markup version (with edits) and how the final document would look with the revisions accepted. In the Review Pane, the Final: Show Markup and Final options will allow you to do this.
WRAPPING UP HOW TO REDLINE IN WORD
After you’ve reviewed all the edits and comments, take Word’s redline feature off by clicking the Track Changes button. Save your document as a new version (give it a different name) and you’ve got yourself a final manuscript.