Note: despite Covid-19 we are functioning as business as usual but all staff are working remotely.

Tracking changes to your book manuscript

When an author sends their finished manuscript to us, this is the start of an exciting process – publishing your book. And the first stage is usually copyediting or proofreading.

First, let’s explain the difference:

  • Proofreading a manuscript covers grammar, spelling, and punctuation but doesn’t generally include rewriting – although we may suggest better phrasing in places.
  • Copyediting includes proofreading but we will also suggest changes to improve clarity, flow, and the consistency of writing style, as well as fact-checking.

How the manuscript editing process works at UK Book Publishing

Whichever service you’ve chosen, we use Microsoft Word to review and suggest changes to your manuscript. So that all changes made are visible and easy to review, we use a feature in Word called ‘Track Changes’ (you’ll find this in the Review section in Word – more on that later).

Using Track Changes means that when we send the document back to you, you can clearly see what amends are being suggested, including any deletions or additions. Likewise, any changes you make should be done with Track Changes enabled, so we can easily identify and review.

The key point is that both parties need to be able to easily see all changes, so it is essential that all amends are made in Word, using Track Changes – including when the author is going through the edited manuscript. Any amends can be accepted or rejected individually – or if you are happy with the majority of edits, you can reject those you don’t want, and then accept the remainder in one go. Or, you can email us to tell us you’re happy with all the edits and we’ll accept them for you.

Where we are not sure what you are trying to say, or have a suggestion to make, we will write a comment, rather than amend the text. These can be replied to as a comment, or you can amend the manuscript in response. But make sure that Track Changes is still switched on!

If Track Changes in Word is new to you, don’t be intimidated! It’s very straightforward to use. At the bottom of this post, I’ve included some videos that show you how it works.

We need you to do this (please read carefully)

When we start work on your manuscript it’s important that you don’t make any further changes until we have sent you the edited version for you to review.

When we do send you the edited version, remember to enable Track Changes in Word to:

  1. See the changes we are suggesting
  2. Accept or reject the changes individually
  3. See comments we’ve added, and add your own comments
  4. Make any changes you want, and likewise, we will use Track Changes to see these

Sometimes authors have queries about suggested edits. It’s very useful therefore to be able to use Track Changes to quickly refer to specific edits whilst discussing on a phone call.

This process takes your raw manuscript to the stage where it is ready to be typeset and laid out as a book, so it is essential that you check through the manuscript as this is the version that will be used in the final, designed and printed book. This is slightly different to traditional publishing, where the process takes a lot longer, and will include proofreading the typeset book – at UK Book Publishing we edit the manuscript before the design stage, where all amends can be seen easily. You’re in control. After all, it’s your book, not ours, and we want you to be happy with it. We are here to advise, but the final decision on content is yours.

Learn how to use ‘Track Changes’ in Word

The Track changes feature is found in the Review section in Word. Exactly how you access and use track changes varies slightly depending on the version of Microsoft Word you have installed.

So, you first need to find out which version of Word you are using.

If you’re not sure which version of Word you use, don’t worry, it’s simple to find out:

  • Windows users: If you have a Windows PC, open a Word document, choose File from the top left corner, and then on the left bar click either Account or Help. On the right side of the window, under Product information, you’ll see your Office version number.
  • Mac users: If you have a Mac, open Word, at the top of the screen go to the Word menu, and click About Word. In the box that opens, the version will either appear in the middle (Mac 2016), or on the top left corner (Mac 2011).

Now you know which version of Word you’re using, choose the relevant video below for a walkthrough demonstration of how to use Track changes.

‘Track Changes’ in Word 2010

‘Track Changes’ in Word 2016, 2019, and MS 365:

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