How to Track Changes in Excel – Step-by-Step Guide

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Did you ever find it difficult to track changes in an Excel file?

It often happens when more than one person is using the same file for different purposes. Suppose, you have a file that contains sales data for the month’s end. You and a colleague of yours both are trying to edit that similar file to make changes as they like. Definitely, only one person can edit a file at a time, otherwise, it would not be a perfect option to do.

This is where the option to track changes in Excel comes in handy. When you need to track changes on an Excel sheet, it makes it easier for other people to update the file. With the track changes option, you can keep track of all the changes made in the file. You can use this command without following any lengthy procedures.

How to Track Changes in Excel (Enabling the Track Changes Feature)

Excel by default has not activated this feature. You have to manually enable it to make it useful. Below are some easy-to-follow steps you can use to enable track changes in Excel:

  • Open the Review tab.

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  • Choose the Track Changes option given in the Changes menu and then click on the Highlight Changes.

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  • Check the option, “Track changes while editing” from the Highlight Changes dialog box. You can specify the “When”, “Who”, and “Where” options as well.

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  • Click OK.

With the above step, the “Track Changes” option in Excel will be activated and you can use it to identify changes made in the workbook.

The Fundamentals of Excel Track Changes

As you know, Track Changes in Excel is a built-in feature that lets you analyze the changes made in the workbook or even a single worksheet. Once you have done tracking changes, you can then accept or reject these changes one by one or all at once.

Below are some healthy points that make the Excel tracking feature effective.

Track Changes is Available in Shared Workbooks Only

Keep in mind that the Excel track changes feature is compatible with shared workbooks only. Therefore, when the track changes feature is enabled, the workbook becomes shared that clearly shows more than one user can make edits in one file at a time.

Isn’t it amazing?

Of course, it is! But you need to bear in mind that shared workbooks often appear with some drawbacks as well.

Track Changes is Not Compatible in Workbooks with Tables

If the Track Changes option is not available in Excel, it could be because your sheet has tables in it or there are XML maps in the data. This kind of data is not supported at all in shared workbooks. To sort out this problem, you need to convert the tables to ranges and delete the XML maps.

Changes cannot be Undo in Excel

Most users don’t know that reverting back the sheet to its original form is not possible in Excel. In Microsoft Word, it is possible to undo changes easily, however, in Excel, you cannot undo changes. Track changes in Excel could be a log file that records data about the changes done to a workbook. You can identify those changes manually so that you can decide which changes are fine and which changes need to be deleted.

Excel does not Track All Changes

In Excel, you cannot identify all the changes. You can track changes made to cell values easily. On the other hand, changes such as hiding or un-hiding rows and columns, formatting, and formula recalculations are some of the un-trackable changes.

Change History is Saved for 30 Days Automatically

Do you know changes you have made are saved for 30 days once they are done?

If you open an edited workbook after 30 days, you may find a change history of all those days but only when you close the book. You can change the number of days from the settings menu to keep changing the history.

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