A useful feature for collaboration in Office documents is the concept of markups. This feature allows you to track changes made to a document and even offers the ability to mark comments that can be made invisible when looking at the “final” product. When trading a file between people in the office, each can see the original structure of the document and where it was changed. One problem that has been cropping up is that these markups don’t always go away when you think they do.
When sending documents from Office 2010 users to Office 2007, we’ve seen problems wherein the document appears correctly in 2010, but when opened on Word 2007, it shows the revision history of the document – even if you have “track changes” turned off. It can be a major embarrassment to find that a client or collaborator outside of the office might see changes and notes you didn’t intend for them to see. As a practice, we always use PDF’s for client correspondence.
Here are some of Microsoft’s recommendations to remove tracked changes from a document in 2010, 2007, and 2003 before you send it out. Perhaps the easiest thing to do if the recipient does not need to edit your document is to save the document as a PDF; the PDF creation feature is built into Office 2010. For those of you on older versions, free PDF creation tools such as PDF Creator and CutePDF are available on the web.