Track changes in Excel (Table of Contents)
Track changes in Excel
Want to know who made changes to the spreadsheet since you have last saved the file? What were the changes that were made and who made those changes? It would have been not possible to answer the above questions without the features of track changes in excel of the spreadsheet. Track changes in excel are the inbuilt feature that is designed to create a log of changes that are made to the shared file since the file was last saved. With enabling the track changes in excel feature we can know what was the changes that were made, who was the user who made the changes and then we can take the decision to whether accept the changes or reject the changes. So this is how track changes in excel help us to audit the changes that have been made since the file was saved.
Examples of Track Changes in excel
The feature enables the user to track changes on the same sheet or list the changes on a separate sheet.
- Listing changes on the same sheet.
In this type of track changes in excel, all the changes will get listed on the same sheet on which the changes have been made. The cell value has been changed from 10 to 20 and hence this change has been highlighted as a track change.
- Listing changes on a new sheet.
In this type of track changes, all the changes that have been made to the file will be listed in a new sheet. In this type of track changes, all the changes are listed in one go and this becomes easy to review the changes.
- Listing changes via the Approve/Reject Tab.
The changes that have been made to the file can also be listed from the tab that is called “Approve/Reject changes”.
Explanation of Track changes in Excel
Track change in excel is the same as the audit log function that is mostly available in the softwares. Track changes feature, as the name suggests will let the user know what changes have been made to the file since the Admin has saved the file.
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Track change in excel is useful when we are working on a file that is to be shared with someone or with our team. This is because if someone had made changes to the file that should not have been made then this will lead to a serious impact, as many times the formula-driven values will get affected. A track change feature can be used on the whole sheet or on some certain part of the worksheet.
This is an important and useful feature that restricts the application of tracking changes, as sometimes we are just concerned about some specific part of the worksheet and we do not want to review the changes that are made in other parts of the worksheet.
How to use Track changes in excel?
Track change in excel is easy as saving the file, this is because this feature does not require any coding or formulas.
This feature can be used once this is selected to be applicable.
Method #1 – Highlighting changes on the sheet.
First, go to the Review Tab of excel. Now under this tab of the review go to “Track changes” that is available under “Changes” function. Now click on the Track Changes option.
After clicking on the Track changes option a dropdown will appear then select the feature of “Highlight changes”.
Now select the option of “Track changes while editing…”.
Now we have to select the criterion for viewing the changes that are made in the file. This option will allow the user to filter the changes by date, not yet reviewed, etc.
If we only want to track changes that are made by only a specific user then we can use this option. This feature is important when we only want to track changes that are made by some specific person only. This specific person can be the manager of the team.
Now, we have to make a choice of tracking the changes in the whole sheet or in some part of the sheet.
If we want the changes to be tracked in the entire sheet, simply uncheck the box.
Now click on “Ok” and track changes will be applicable from now.
Now if any change is made to the file this will be shown by excel as below.
Method #2 – Creating a separate file of changes made to file.
Go to the REVIEW tab and click on Highlight changes.
From this option Choose to “list changes on a new sheet” and click “OK”.
A new sheet will be created for listing all the changes that have been made to the file.
Things to Remember
- When track changes are enabled, this makes the sheet “Shared”. This means that different users will be able to make changes in the spreadsheet at the same time.
- Share workbook will not support all the features of excel like –
- Conditional formatting.
- Data validations.
- Merging cells.
- A worksheet that has tables will not be able to work with the Track changes options as tables cannot be shared. In this case, to enable track changes it is important that the tables are first converted to the range.
- This should be remembered that not all changes will be tracked by excel, the changes made to a cell value can only be tracked. Some changes like hiding row, deleting the row or changing the color of the cell will not be tracked in excel as this is not quantitative information.
- Excel will keep the history of changes for the past 30 days only, this preference can be changed but the default duration to keep changes is for the past 30 days only.
- If in case the changes are highlighted on a new sheet then the sheet by the name of “History” will get auto-deleted once the file is saved.
- When a file is on Track changes then no sheet can be moved or copied into the file as this is a restricted feature.
This has been a guide to Track changes in Excel. Here we discuss the Track changes and how to use the Track changes in Excel along with practical examples and downloadable excel template. You can also go through our other suggested articles –