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Editing Tip: Always Read a Clean Copy After Tracking Changes

When you edit a document using Track Changes in Word or Suggesting mode in Google Docs, the pages can quickly become cluttered with strikethroughs, insertions, and comments. And although the ability to see what’s been changed can be useful, the tracking features can be distracting and make it easy to miss double words or missing words, errors introduced during editing, the list goes on.

After years of struggling with this, I discovered a feature in both Word and Google Docs that lets you see how the document will read after the edits have been accepted, and it’s made my work SO much easier. 

I know I can’t be the only one who’s been frustrated by a mess of changes on an edited document, so I’m spreading the word to help ease the pain for other writers and editors. Because, as you know, sharing is caring.

How to Read a Clean Copy in Word

To see a preview of the document with your edits accepted in Word, go to Review → Tracking → No Markup.

How to Read a Clean Copy in Google Docs

To see a preview of the document with your edits accepted in Google Docs, go to Tools → Review Suggested Edits → Show Suggested Edits Preview Accept All.

These previews give you a clean view of the document and make it easier to read and to spot any mistakes.

For instance, I recently rewrote and reorganized a 48-page manuscript. When I did the clean read-through, I noticed that when I’d moved a big chunk of text from one page to another, I left one sentence behind. Sure, I might have caught it with the markup showing, but it’s way easier to notice it on a clean page.

Bonus Tip

When I edit for clients, I always send two versions of the document back: one with every comment, deletion, and insertion visible and a clean copy that shows my edits accepted. It’s a little extra that doesn’t take much time on my end, and my clients always appreciate it.