Collaborating on Microsoft Word documents is common in many workplaces. When multiple people edit a shared Word doc, it can be useful to see who made which changes.
Fortunately, Word has built-in tools to track edits and view revision history. In this article, I’ll explain several methods to check who edited a shared Word document.
Table of Contents
Use Track Changes
The easiest way is to use Word’s Track Changes feature. Here’s how:
- Open the Word document and select the Review tab
- Click “Track Changes” to turn it on – Any new edits will be marked with the editor’s name/initials and color coded
- Make edits to the doc as required
- To view changes, click “Reviewing Pane” – This opens a sidebar listing all edits
- Click on any edit to see who made it, when, and what was changed
You can also toggle between Simple Markup and All Markup views:
- Simple Markup shows edits via lines in the right margin
- All Markup shows all edits in place with formatting
To turn off tracking, just click “Track Changes” again. The edits will remain in the document for acceptance/rejection later.
Check Version History
If the Word document is saved in SharePoint or OneDrive, you can view the entire version history:
- Click the File tab and select Info
- Choose ‘Version history’ > ‘See version history’
- Scroll through the version list – Each one shows who edited it and when
- Click on any version to view the changes made – Deletions are crossed out, additions are underlined
You can also compare any two versions to clearly see the changes between them.
View File Properties
Another way is to check the Word file properties:
- Click the File tab and choose Info
- Select ‘Properties’ > ‘Advanced properties’
- Go to the ‘Summary’ tab – This shows author name and last edited details
However, it won’t list all editors. For that, you’ll need to use Track Changes or version history.
For files stored in OneDrive or SharePoint, you can view sharing and editing activity:
- Open OneDrive/SharePoint and navigate to the file
- Click the ellipses (…) menu > ‘Activity’
- Scroll down the activity feed – All editing events are listed here
The feed shows exactly who viewed, edited, shared, or commented on the file and when.
Use a File Tracking App
Apps like DocTrail and Gimmal provide advanced auditing and tracking of Word doc edits:
- Maintain detailed records of all activity
- Run audit reports showing editors, edits, timelines, etc.
- Ensure document integrity and security
While paid apps, they offer more powerful tracking than Word alone.
Best Practices for Edit Tracking
To effectively track Word doc edits:
Turn on Track Changes before collaborating and ask others to do the same. This captures all edits for easy review.
Use consistent names/initials so you can identify each editor. Anonymous edits are less useful.
Save files to the cloud (OneDrive, SharePoint). This enables version history and activity tracking.
Agree on editing procedures like leaving comments, using @mentions in docs, etc.
Don’t disable editing history. Remind collaborators not to reject all changes or turn off Track Changes.
Review changes promptly rather than letting them accumulate endlessly.
Use Excel for data files requiring more robust tracking. Excel provides more detailed options to show workbook edits and changes.
Use a file tracking app for mission-critical documents or legal records. Paid apps provide advanced features beyond Word’s capabilities.
Microsoft Word provides several built-in options to see who edited a shared document:
- Track Changes records all edits until accepted/rejected
- Version history lists each save with editor details
- File properties show author and last edited info
- OneDrive/SharePoint activity feed displays editing events
For more advanced tracking, dedicated file tracking apps offer detailed auditing and history.
Using Word’s collaboration and reviewing tools appropriately allows seamless editing with full transparency. Just be sure to establish guidelines upfront so everyone knows what to expect!
With a few simple tracking measures in place, you can collaborate freely on Word documents while keeping tabs on changes.
Let me know if you have any other questions!