Can't Turn Off Track Changes in Word

Updated March 23, 2017

If you are unable to turn off Track Changes in Microsoft Word, you must change the appropriate setting first. Then you may turn off this feature and/or remove all record of prior tracked changes.

Document Protection

You cannot turn off Track Changes in a protected document. In Word 2003, you must click "Unprotect Document" on the "Tools" menu and enter any necessary password. For later versions, on the "Review" tab in the "Protect" group, click "Restrict Editing" if you're in Word 2010, or "Protect" in Word 2007. In the Restrict Formatting and Editing task pane, click "Stop Protection" and enter the correct password if requested.

Expert Insight

In Word 2003, you might turn off Track Changes successfully but find the option turns back on when you open the document again later. To solve this issue, click the "File" menu and select "Properties." In the Properties box, select all items and click "Delete." Close the document and reopen it to turn off Track Changes.


To completely remove visible tracked changes from your Word document, you must accept or reject each change or change the Track Changes view to "Original" or "Final" without "Show Markup."

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About the Author

Erica Leigh has been writing and editing professionally since 2005, contributing to a technology and education nonprofit, renewable energy companies and various websites. Leigh holds bachelor's degrees in anthropology and linguistics from the University of Washington.