Outlook tips

Can I copy & paste tracked changes from Word into Outlook?

May 14, 2024


Daniel Yim

A closeup of a key cutting machine

Yes, you can!

If you’ve ever tried selecting some text in Word containing tracked changes, hitting ctrl+c (copy) and then ctrl+v (paste) into Outlook, you’ll know that the pasted text appears as if all changes have been accepted. That’s probably not what you wanted.

It is however possible to retain those tracked changes when pasting into Outlook. Let’s learn how to do it.

Follow these steps to copy & paste tracked changes from Word into Outlook

  1. Select the text in Word containing the tracked changes you want to copy.
  2. Go to the Developer tab. If you don’t see this, you’ll need to right-click the Word ribbon > Customer the Ribbon... and then add the Developer tab.
  3. Click on Design Mode.
  4. Click on Group > Group. This will create a content control over the selected text.
  5. Select the content control and copy it (ctrl+c). You must ensure that track changes is turned off when you do this.
  6. Now go to your email in Outlook and paste (ctrl+v).

The recipient of the email can hit reply/forward on the email once received, right-click on the track changes > Remove Content Control, and then right-click again and select Accept or Reject. You may wish to let the recipient know these steps so they don’t get confused how to accept/reject.

Is there an easier way to use track changes in Outlook?

If you don’t want to deal with the Developer tab, don’t get excited by content controls or don’t have time to constantly switch between Word and Outlook when marking up an email, there is another solution.

The Sideline Outlook Add-in lets you use track changes without leaving Outlook. With a single click you can:

  • present your edits as tracked changes (blue/underline and red/strikethrough);
  • accept or reject tracked changes in an email; or
  • if someone has edited your email in clean, see a redline in a sidebar in Outlook.

There’s no new windows, no new logins and basically zero learning curve. Senior practitioners don’t even need to click any buttons in Sideline for their team to get the learning benefits of being able to see the edits made to their draft emails. As mentioned above, edits can be made in clean, and then the original drafter can press one button to see the changes.

If you’d like to see this in action, please get in touch for a demo.

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