Friday, October 8, 2010

Critiquing using Microsoft Office Word

Microsoft Office Word includes the option to edit and make suggestions to documents using a special editing too. It allows comments, strikethroughs and additions. If you are critiquing someone else’s work, I beg of you - NOT TO USE IT.

On the surface, it is a phenomenal tool. However, it only allows the recipient an accept/reject option. Because the recipient cannot choose what portions s/he wants to keep or reject, it creates five times the work for the person receiving the critique than the simple options of normal a Word document.

I make the presumption that if you use this special feature you are familiar enough with Word to place a few important buttons on your formatting tool bar. If you do not have them there, you need to add: Highlight, Strikethrough, and Font Color. Right click on the tool bar, select customize, then commands, and finally format. Scroll down the list until you find the function that is missing, left click and hold, then drag the icon to the inside of the tool bar. It’s that simple. Now is also a good time to remove any icons you don’t use. Merely drag the icon from the toolbar to the open table. Don’t like the icon order, move them while the customize box is open. When you are done, close the box.

Now, when you want to strike out text, highlight it, and press the strikethrough button. Want to suggest text or make a comment, place the cursor in the appropriate point, select a new font color and type away. If you want to emphasize something, you can bold, italicize, underline, or even change fonts. None of this is locked so it cannot be changed by the recipient.

Fancy is nice, but when it creates more work, it’s just counter productive.


  1. I want to add that when a person gets work critiqued by many people, the track changes/edits function is great. At least, in my opinion. I simply open up windows with the critiqued documents and scan down to see what advice works for me, then make adjustments in my manuscript. I never use the accept/reject function anyway.

    I'm glad you explain how to format our toolbar. I never knew how to do that before. Thanks!

  2. Thanks for this post--I'm learning! (after I just found out how to number my pgs.the other day!:) Pat