Track changes illustrated in a metaphoric picture of Pooh and Piglet walking around in circles.

Track changes are no walk in the Hundred Acre Wood when multiple reviewers go round and round with edits.

Q: We are reviewing the first draft of content that our marketing team wrote. Can I send them my revisions using track changes?

A: Track changes can be a good way to revise digital text. But when working with an outside marketing or design team, proceed with caution when using them. Here are two tips to keep in mind:

  1. Be sure to use the most current edited version of the text before making tracked changes. If that version now exists only in a designed proof, copy and paste the text in the proof to a new text document to track new changes.
  2. Appoint one person – preferably the person with ultimate authority – to make all the changes on the version you send. If multiple people have made changes to the same document, outside editors and designers will struggle to make sense of a confusing jumble of colors, lines and boxes.

To think of it another way, travel back to childhood and that favorite children’s book, Winnie-the-Pooh. In Chapter 3, “Pooh and Piglet go hunting and nearly catch a Woozle.” If you recall the action, Piglet looks up on a winter’s day and sees Pooh walking “round and round in a circle.” When asked what he’s doing, Pooh responds mysteriously that he’s “Tracking something.” “Tracking what?” says Piglet. “That’s just what I ask myself,” says Pooh. Piglet, of course, hopes the tracks in the snow are from a Woozle and joins Pooh walking round and round the Hundred Acre Wood. When they circle back, of course, their tracks get mixed in with the previous tracks, confusing them more and more. And that’s the danger of too much tracking, whether you’re a designer, an editor or a Bear of Very Little Brain.

If you are already reviewing proofs, track changes won’t work. At this point, simply write your changes on the proof and send the markup to by PDF. Or, if you prefer, explain the changes needed in an email. This allows your designer to easily check and verify that the requested changes were made, and focus on fine-tuning and perfecting the product.

Have a marketing challenge? Call Kim Landry at 484-829-0021 or email [email protected].

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