Word’s Track Changes feature has put a merciful end to the tedious, hand-scrawled Post-It note style of editing and reviewing documents. Just turn on document tracking and reviewers can edit text, apply highlighting, and insert comments—in short, they can revise and nit-pick to their heart’s content. Word displays these changes and remarks without actually disturbing the original text, so the document’s author can selectively incorporate them or discard them.

The built-in Reviewing toolbar offers buttons that make routing and reviewing tasks easier, but our TechRepublic staff wanted more—and you probably do too. Because even when that last revision mark has been accepted or rejected, a document may still be peppered with leftover comments, highlighting, and extra spaces. To make life easier around here, we decided to create some custom macros to deal with those lingering problems:

  • ·        CommentZapper scans the document and deletes comment marks (and their associated comment text). This is particularly handy if you plan to import your Word files into non-Microsoft page design programs, where this “hidden” text tends to pop up at the most inopportune moments.
  • ·        HighlightZapper removes any highlighting that’s applied to document text.
  • ·        SpaceZapper locates instances of double spaces and replaces them with single spaces.

After we wrote these macros, we simply used Word’s Customize dialog box to create a toolbar that combines the tools from the original Reviewing toolbar with buttons to run the macros. Using these extra tools, it takes just a few seconds to run a last-minute cleanup operation on the document. Our staff gives the beefed-up Online Reviewing toolbar a big thumbs-up, so we thought you might want to check it out for yourself.

To take the toolbar for a spin, just download the Online Reviewing template (which contains the toolbar) and follow the directions in the associated InfoDoc file to copy the toolbar into Word’s Normal template.