- Can you track changes in Excel?
- How to turn on track changes in Excel?
- How to view, accept, and reject changes?
- How to turn off track changes in Excel?
- How to track changes in Google Sheets?
When collaborating on a spreadsheet with others simultaneously, it’s important to get an instant view of the changes that have been made. Moreover, if you're responsible for filtering the data, then you’ll definitely benefit from a quick system that allows you to accept or reject changes. Although it’s possible to track changes in all Excel versions, it’s easier to find in Excel 2016 and older versions. To be able to review changes to a shared workbook in Excel 365 or 2019, you’ll need to add this command to your Ribbon.
In this article, you’ll find a step-by-step illustration of how to track changes in Excel 365. First, you’ll learn how to enable the feature to track changes in your Ribbon. Then, you’ll learn how to accept and reject the changes, and finally how to turn off this feature to finalize the document.
Can you track changes in Excel?
Excel’s co-authoring feature has replaced the former Shared Workbooks function from previous versions. Although co-authoring allows you to highlight the changes other users make to the spreadsheet in real-time, it’s not the same as tracking changes. For example, co-authoring won’t let you accept or reject the changes to the original data.
It’s important to check the Excel version you’re working on, as this will determine whether you need to add the feature yourself to the Ribbon. Whereas in Excel 2016 and older versions, the Track Changes command appears in the “Review” tab by default, in Excel 365 and 2019, you’ll have to add it manually.
How to turn on track changes in Excel?
If you work in Excel 365 or 2019, you can still enjoy the full potential of collaboration features. However, before turning on the track changes feature, you need to add it to your Ribbon. This is how to enable the Track Changes command in your Excel “Review” tab.
How to add the Track Changes command to the Review tab?
- 1. Open your Excel spreadsheets and go to File > Options.
- 2. Select “Customize Ribbon” on the left-side menu.
- 3. In the “Choose command from” drop-down menu, select “All commands”.
- 4. In the “Customize the Ribbon” drop-down menu, select “Main Tabs”.
- 5. Click on the “+” button to expand the “Review” category. Then, select the “New Group” button below.
- 6. Click on “New Group (Custom)” and then “Rename”.
- 7. Enter “Track Changes” as the new name for the group. Click “OK” to save the changes and close the Rename dialog box.
- 8. Go to the “All Commands” list and click on the following options: Compare and Merge Workbooks (Legacy), Protect Sharing (Legacy), Share Workbook (Legacy), Track Changes (Legacy). Click on “Add” after clicking on each option. These would now appear under the “Track Changes” group in the “Main Tabs” list to the right.
- 9. Click “OK” to save and apply all changes. Close the window and head over to your “Review” tab. All of these commands should now appear to the far right.
And that’s done! Now, you’re ready to start using Track Changes.
The Beginner's Guide to Excel Version Control
Discover what Excel version control is, the version control features Excel has to offer, and how to use them to share, merge, and review Excel changesREAD MORE
How to customize the Track Changes feature?
Once you’re ready to share your workbook to allow other users to edit, you can turn on the Track Changes option and customize how these are highlighted for later review.
- 1. Go to Review > Track Changes > Highlight Changes.
- 2. Check the box for “Track changes while editing”.
- 3. Choose the following options to make sure all changes are highlighted. In “When”, select “All”, and in “Who”, select “Everyone”. Make sure that the box for “Highlight changes on screen” is ticked and click “OK” to save.
For this command to function properly, you need to share the workbook using the command you just created.
How to Share Workbook with Track Changes?
- 1. Go to Review > Share Workbook.
- 2. In the “Editing” tab, make sure the option “Use the old shared workbooks feature instead of the new co-authoring experience” is checked. Click “OK” and close the window.
- 3. The “Advanced” tab allows you to customize how the changes are tracked to give you a more in-depth tracking history. Once you finish, click “OK” and close.
- 4. Go to Review > Protect Shared Workbook. Select “Sharing with track changes” to prevent other users to remove the change history. Click “OK” to finish.
Discover the most popular methods used to manually or automatically combine multiple Excel spreadsheets and data inputs into one master fileREAD MORE
How to view, accept, and reject changes?
Once your team has modified the data, you can review all edits and accept or reject those changes. This is how you can view, accept, and reject changes to your spreadsheet.
- 1. Go to Review > Track Changes > Accept or Reject Changes.
- 2. Make sure the “Where” checkbox is not ticked so that Excel shows the changes from the entire workbook.
- 3. For each change, you can “Accept” or “Reject”. If you select “Accept All” or “Reject All” Excel will automatically apply all changes. Once you finish, select “Close”.
The “Accept or Reject Changes” dialog box is essentially Excel’s. Unlike tracking changes in Google Sheets or accessing its edit history feature, the steps to follow to see the history log or edit history in Excel are a bit more complex. However, once you’ve added the Track Changes command to your Ribbon, accessing it will be quicker.
How to turn off track changes in Excel?
Once you’ve finished reviewing your workbook and don’t want any further changes to be saved or reflected, you can turn off Track Changes. This is how you can turn off Track Changes in Excel.
- 1. Go to the Review > Track Changes > Highlight Changes.
- 2. Clear all the options in the “Highlight Changes” window, and click “OK” to save changes.
How to track changes in Google Sheets?
Layer is an add-on that equips finance teams with the tools to increase efficiency and data quality in their FP&A processes on top of Google Sheets. Share parts of your Google Sheets, monitor, review and approve changes, and sync data from different sources – all within seconds.
Using Layer, you can:
- Share & Collaborate: Automate your data collection and validation through user controls.
- Automate & Schedule: Schedule recurring data collection and distribution tasks.
- Integrate & Sync: Connect to your tech stack and sync all your data in one place.
- Visualize & Report: Generate and share reports with real-time data and actionable decisions.
Limited Time Offer: Sign up today and get free access to Layer, including all the paid features, so you can start managing, automating, and scaling your FP&A processes on top of Google Sheets!
If there is one feature that stands out in Excel for not being readily accessible, it’s “Track Changes”. In Word, for example, this feature is more accessible to users, and it’s widely used. Whether you are responsible for editing the data or reviewing later, knowing that all edits are registered will definitely help you work with less pressure.
If you’re working on Excel 365 or 2019 you should now be able to use the track changes command without issues. As you’ve seen, creating a group for the “Track Changes” and “Share Workbook” commands might require more steps than in other spreadsheet apps; however, you will only have to do it once, and you can then turn on and off in a quick and easy way.
If you want to learn more about Excel and how to use its version control features, you’ll find the following articles very useful: