This was originally posted as a Word 2007 question, but the issue and the solution are common to other versions of Word.

Whenever I open an existing document in Word 2007 (on Windows XP), word turns on track changes, and changes the display mode to "Final" (that is, not "Final Showing Markup" -- so I often don't even notice track changes is on if I don't remember to pay attention.

This happens for ALL existing documents, and doesn't happen for new documents. I can't find any option in the configuration that would control this behavior.

I would like to restore the original/default behavior where documents are opening with Track Changes off, and in "Final showing markup" display.

Steps to Reproduce

  1. Open Word 2007.
  2. Create a new document. Verify that track changes is off.
  3. Save the document and close Word.
  4. Open the document (either directly or through Word).
  5. Track changes is now on.

Any ideas?


The constant appearance of tracking information when you open a document is a pain.

It happens because once tracking is turned on in a document you cant turn it off - you can only accept the changes but they are still there

The easiest way is to copy the whole text to a brand new Word document and then save it as a new file.

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  • What?  (1) You certainly can turn off Track Changes.  (2) There are reports that Word sometimes retains deleted text — if only in the “Undo” history.  You claim that it keeps old versions (deleted text) even after you accept changes.  If this goes beyond the general behavior of Word, do you have a reference for your claim? – G-Man Says 'Reinstate Monica' May 24 '18 at 2:46

Depending on what version of Microsoft you have this may differ slightly:

To stop mark up changes to your document you must accept or reject the changes. If you simply agree with all the changes select all the text and accept all changes. This will stop tracking changes from appearing in the document.

The video, Word 2007 Demo: Use tracked changes in documents, is useful and you will find the answer in the first 2 minutes.

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Have all changes accepted, switch off tracking changes and remove hidden data and personal information by inspecting document (Click on File, Info, Check for Issues). Safe the file. When opening the file again, tracking changes should not be off.

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This remains an issue 5 years later in Word 2013. The answer commonly given is, "you must accept the changes". My preferred solution, however, is to use Word's Document_Open event to change the initial view setting as desired:

Private Sub Document_Open()
    With ActiveDocument.Windows(1).View.RevisionsFilter
        .Markup = wdRevisionsMarkupNone
        .View = wdRevisionsViewFinal
    End With
End Sub 

This example is from Word 2013, but the principle is the same in any version of Word.

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Microsoft Word on Mac, The ONLY way to get rid of the track changes is; on the right-hand side of the document click onto the change, then a drop-down will appear, then choose delete changes. You have to sadly do this to all/ever highlighted change listed in the document. Then save the document as a test first, all ok then safe as Master Document. IT works 100% Neale

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  • I had the same problem. I deleted all the previous comments, and saved after turning off tracking. The problem disappeared. – Subspacian Jul 24 '19 at 8:17

From the Microsoft knowledge base:

Markup text may reappear when you open or when you save a document of Word 2007

When you open or save a Microsoft Word document, markup text (comments, ink annotations, insertions and deletions, and formatting changes) that you turned off in the document the last time that you saved it may appear again.

To change this behavior and to retain the Reviewing options as you did in Word 2002, follow these steps, as appropriate for the version of Word that you are running.

Microsoft Office Word 2007

  1. Start Word 2007, and then open the Word 2007 document.

  2. Click the Microsoft Office Button, and then click Word Options.

  3. In the left pane, click Trust Center, and then click Trust Center Settings.

  4. In the left pane, click Privacy Options, and then click to clear the Make hidden markup visible when opening or saving check box.

  5. Click OK two times.

  6. Make a change to the document. For example, type a space, and then delete the space. Then, save the document.

Note If you do not perform step 6 and make a change to the document, the change that you made to the Make hidden markup visible when opening or saving option may not take effect the next time that you open the document.

Note If you save the file with the Make hidden markup visible when opening or saving option cleared, another user will see the markup text immediately when he or she opens the document. The other user must also clear the Make hidden markup visible when opening or saving option.

This is because when you open a document that contains tracked changes, the document appears in the Final Showing Markup view to indicate that the document contains tracked changes. This behavior is by default.

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Have you ensured you 'Accpeted Changes' for these existing docs? I had the same problem as I kept opening a doc where I turned off Track Changes, only to have it re-appear. If you accept those changes the Track Changes setting you select will take place. If you do not, the setting that was put in place before will persist each time you open the document.

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In the Review section, besides just clicking the Accept button, there is a drop down. You must select Accept All Changes and Stop Tracking. Then save the doc, close and reopen and it should be fine.

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In Microsoft Word for MAC, you have to select the option to delete all the comments. That is the only way to get rid of all the comments. Afterward, you will not see them anymore. My Microsoft Word for MAC would not let me accept all the comments or delete the comments. This is definitely a bug that Microsoft and Apple need to fix right away. Cheers.

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