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Can You Track Changes in PowerPoint? [Here’s How to Do It!]

Can You Track Changes in PowerPoint? [Here’s How to Do It!]

If you are a frequent user of other Microsoft Office applications especially “Word”, one feature that you wish the most in PowerPoint is the track changes feature! But, you’d be surprised to know that Microsoft PowerPoint also provides a feature similar to track changes and it is a bit difficult to locate at first!

To track changes in PowerPoint, first, open the original file and click on the “Review” tab. Then, click on the “Compare” option. In the next window, open the PowerPoint file that contains the modifications. Now, using the “Reviewing Pane”, you can accept or reject the changes to the presentation.

In this article, we’ll go in-depth into using this feature to make note of changes in PowerPoint. I’ll show you how to enable the feature and what you need to do in a step-by-step manner!

So, let’s get started!

1. Is There a Track Change Feature in PowerPoint? 

There is a feature in PowerPoint that is similar to “Track Change”. The feature is more referred to as “review and compare”. One other distinction is that it looks and works in a slightly different manner than the track changes in Word.

In order to track changes in PowerPoint, you will need to compare an edited version of the same PowerPoint presentation to the original file. You won’t be able to track changes in the same PowerPoint file.

[Note – In the rest of the article, we will continue to refer to this feature as track changes in order to avoid confusion]

The track changes feature allows you to compare your original presentation with an edited or reviewed file of the same presentation. This allows you to collaborate with other users more efficiently.

Now, let’s take a look at how the “track changes” feature works in PowerPoint.

2. How to Track Changes in PowerPoint? 

To use the Track Change feature in PowerPoint, you will have to go to the “Review” tab and compare a reviewed file with the original file of your presentation.

The entire process is described below in a step-by-step manner –

Step-1: Make a copy of your presentation 

The first step of the process is to make a copy of the PowerPoint presentation file that you wish to share with other users.

The Track Changes feature in PowerPoint compares two files and distinguishes the changes made in one of the files by taking the other as a reference.

So to get started, you have to make a copy of your PowerPoint presentation file that you are going to send to the reviewer. 

Step-2: Ask your team members to review it

After you have made a copy of your presentation file, make sure to rename each file by differentiating the original file from the one that you just created.

A recommended practice is to name the original file as “original” at the end, and the file you plan to send to your team members can be labeled as “For Review”.

Now all you have to do is to send the presentation file to the reviewer and ask them to send you the file back after they have made the necessary changes. 

Step-3: Go to the “Review” tab 

After you have received the reviewed file of your PowerPoint presentation, first, open the original presentation that you saved on your computer.

Then, click on the “Review” tab once the presentation opens up.

Step-4: Click on the “Compare” button

After you have selected the “Review” tab, click on the “Compare” button which is located in the “Compare” section of the “Review” tab (as shown in the image in the previous step).

Step-5: Merge the reviewed PowerPoint file 

After you have clicked on the “Compare” button a pop-up window will appear on your screen. From the pop-up window, locate and select the reviewed file of your PowerPoint presentation.

Make sure that you choose the file with the edits and not the one which was originally created.

Once selected, click on the “Merge” button located at the bottom right corner of the pop-up window. 

Step-6: Using the “reviewing pane”

Next, your presentation will open in the “Reviewing Pane” by default. If it doesn’t, click on the “Review” tab, and then click on the “Reviewing Pane” button.

This will open a new window on the right. Here, you can see the changes made to the specific slide. You can either click on the changes in the pane or use the “Previous” and the “Next” buttons to select the change for further action.

Step-6: Accept or reject corrections

After you have merged the reviewed file with the original file of the PowerPoint presentation, the changes that were made in the reviewed file will be made available to see in the “Revisions” pane which opens up to the right of your screen after the merger.

You can select the “Accept” button located in the “Compare” section of the “Review” tab to accept the revisions made on the slide by selecting one of the three options available in the drop-down menu when you hit the “Accept” button.

You can either accept a specific change, accept all the changes made in the slide or you can accept all the changes made in the entire presentation. These options are quite self-explanatory.

Alternatively, you can also reject the changes made in your presentation.

To do this, simply click on the specific changes made. Then, click on the “Reject” button located in the “Compare” section of the “Review” tab and choose one of the three options.

You can also choose to either reject a specific revision, reject all the revisions made in the specific slide, or reject all the revisions made in the entire presentation. 

Step-7: Finish reviewing with the “End Review” button

Once you are done making the necessary changes in your PowerPoint presentation, hit the “End Review” button which is located at the rightmost of the “Compare” section in the “Review” tab.

This will save all the accepted changes from the reviewed file to the original file. 

3. How to Compare PowerPoint Presentations on Mac?

Unfortunately, the latest versions of PowerPoint do not have the “Track Changes” or the “Review and Compare” feature available for its users. However, if you are using PowerPoint 2011 for Mac, you can access the feature by clicking on “Review”, and then clicking on the “Compare” button.

It is quite unusual for Microsoft to remove a feature from its previous versions of the application. The ability to compare PowerPoint files, even if you have to make two different files and review them, is a great feature to have for collaborative working.

Perhaps the reason behind the removal of this feature might be to push PowerPoint 365 that provides live collaboration features including highlight changes just as you would see in Google Slides!

However, if you are stuck with a version of PowerPoint on Mac that doesn’t currently have the track changes feature, you can do the following –

Step 1 – Arrange Your PowerPoint Presentations

Arrange the two PowerPoint presentations in a manner that both the files occupy half the screen equally in a horizontal manner.

Keep the original file on the left part of the screen and the file with the changes on the right part of the screen.

Step 2 – Manually Review the Changes

Now, all you need to do is go through both the presentations slide by slide and manually review the presentation.

This part is easier said than done. So here are a few tips that will help you along the way –

  1. Check Slide Changes – First, open both the presentations in the “Slide Sorter View” and look for any slides that may have been deleted, or moved around. Make a note of the changes on a separate document or a sheet of paper.
  2. Check for Color Changes – Another thing that you can quickly spot using the slide sorter view is the color changes made to the slides. Just make a note of anything out of the ordinary. You can examine that later when you go to the specific slides.
  3. Changes to the Objects – One more thing that you may want to check for while you are in the slide sorter view is if there is any obvious changes to any objects on the slide such as the shapes or images.
  4. Changes on Individual Slides – Now, you would want to go to the normal view and check for individual changes on the slides. Here are few things that you should look for when comparing the individual slides of the two presentations –
    • Fonts used
    • Changes in text
    • Color changes
    • Shape changes
    • Images
    • Location of objects such as text box, shapes, images, etc.

This seems quite a lot of work and it can be if you have several slides to compare. Just a quick tip here, there are some changes that you can make to all the slides at once. This will save you some time.

For instance, you can change fonts on all slides in PowerPoint. Likewise, you can also delete all notes from PowerPoint at once.

Also, check out my guide on how to format shapes in PowerPoint if you struggle with shapes. You can also get ninja tips about formatting text in PowerPoint in my other article.

So, make sure you check these articles as some of them can reduce your editing time!

4. Tips to Make Changes to a Presentation Effectively? 

Making changes in PowerPoint using the Track Changes feature can save you a lot of time and effort.

However, if you use it right, you can make a lot better use of the tool and make the experience of collaborating through PowerPoint even better.

In the following section, we will share a few tips that will help you make better use of the “Track Changes” feature. 

4.1 Identify One Person to Make all the Changes 

It is important to maintain consistency in the changes that are made in a PowerPoint presentation.

Since you will have to make copies of the original file, it is best if the final version comes from a single file from a single user, instead of having to merge multiple files by multiple people.

To make the process faster and easier, choose one person among the collaborators who will accept and reject the changes in the final version of your collaborative presentation. 

For other members of the team, the best course of action is to use comments and the notes section to give feedback rather than making actual changes.

This may seem counterintuitive at first and you may be tempted to make the change directly instead of sharing feedback, but trust me, it will save a lot of time if you want the project to finish faster!

4.2 Use Comments Feature to Give Feedback for Changes

To build better communication throughout the editing process of the presentation, you can use the comments feature in PowerPoint.

This will allow reviewers to leave a comment in the reviewed file of your presentation which can help you get a better understanding of why the changes were made.

4.3 Use Notes Section to Provide Detailed Feedback to Make Changes

If you want to leave even more detailed feedback on the reviews for your PowerPoint presentation, you can use the speaker notes feature.

Although speaker notes are a great way to capture notes for your presentation, you can also use it for sharing feedback with the team members instead! Check out my other article on using notes in PowerPoint.

4.4 Use the Chat Feature in PowerPoint

Image Credit – Microsoft Blog

If you are using PowerPoint on Office 365, you also have the option to directly chat and collaborate with your teammates. In fact, this is one of the best ways to make sure that you get the most work done when using PowerPoint.

The chat feature works just like Skype and allows you to complete flexibility to interact with the team, review the slides and make changes on the go!

5. How to View Edit History in PowerPoint 365? 

Microsoft PowerPoint offers its users the option to view the previous versions of the presentation. You can select a previous version of the presentation file from the “View history” option and even restore it.

To do this, all you have to do is to select the “View History” button located in the “Info” section of the “File” tab and choose the version of the file from the pop-up window. 

6. Track Changes Greyed Out? Here’s What to Do!

Below are 3 reasons why the Track Changes feature is greyed out in your presentation. 

1. One of the reasons why Track Changes in your PowerPoint file is greyed out is because you are either trying to reject a revision that has already been rejected or accept a revision that has already been accepted. You can only accept revisions that have been rejected and vice-versa. 

2. Another reason may be that you have compared the original file with itself, or no edits have been done on the file that you are comparing your original file with. So, make sure the reviewer has sent you a file that has been revised and changes were made on it. Otherwise, you won’t be able to use the Track Changes feature.

3. You may be using an expired version of the Microsoft PowerPoint software. Activate your product and restart PowerPoint again and you will be able to use the Track Change feature.

If you are not sure whether your PowerPoint needs activation or if you don’t know how to carry out this process, check out our other article on how to activate PowerPoint.

Credit to cookie_studio (on Freepik) for the featured image of this article (further edited).