How to Track Changes in Google Docs


Matthew Burleigh

Tracking changes in Google Docs is a snap. All you need to do is turn on ‘Suggested Edits’ in the document. Once this feature is activated, every change you make will be highlighted. This gives others the chance to review what’s been altered and either accept or reject those suggestions.

After you complete the action of enabling ‘Suggested Edits,’ any edits you make will appear as colored marks or highlighted text to others viewing the document. These individuals can then review each suggestion and decide if they want to keep the changes or not.


Google Docs is more than just a platform for typing out your thoughts or crunching numbers; it’s a dynamic workspace that encourages collaboration and editing in real time. Whether you’re a student co-authoring a group project, a professional working on a collaborative report, or an author sharing your manuscript with an editor, knowing how to track changes in Google Docs is essential. It keeps everyone on the same page—literally.

Why is this feature so valuable? Well, picture this: you’re working on a document with your classmates, and everyone has their own ideas and contributions. If you can’t see who’s doing what, the document can become a chaotic mess in no time. With change tracking, you get clarity and accountability. It’s like having a superpower where you can see the evolution of your document, understanding each tweak, addition, or deletion. This isn’t just about keeping track; it’s about creating a transparent and efficient workflow. Everyone involved can see the process, contribute effectively, and ensure the final product is polished and precise.

Related: Why is My Google Doc Highlighted in Green?

A Step by Step Tutorial

This part of the guide will walk you through how to activate and use the ‘Suggested Edits’ feature in Google Docs. This will allow you to track changes easily and collaborate efficiently.

Step 1: Open your Google Doc

Access your document in Google Docs by logging into your Google account and opening the document you want to work on.

Google Docs can be accessed from any web browser or through its mobile app. Once you have your document open, you’re ready to start tracking changes.

Step 2: Click on the pencil icon

Look for the pencil icon in the upper right corner and click on it to see editing options.

This icon is the gateway to setting up the tracking system. By default, it’s set to ‘Editing’ mode, which allows direct changes to the document without tracking.

Step 3: Select ‘Suggesting’ mode

In the drop-down menu that appears after clicking the pencil icon, choose ‘Suggesting’ mode.

When you select ‘Suggesting,’ any changes you make to the document will not directly alter the text but will appear as suggestions that can be reviewed by others.


Understanding the advantages of tracking changes can help you utilize this tool to its fullest potential.

Clarity in Collaboration

It maintains transparency among collaborators by clearly showing who made which changes.

When everyone can see the edits being made, it reduces confusion and ensures that everyone has the same understanding of the document’s progression.


It holds each contributor accountable for their edits, fostering responsibility.

This feature is like having a history book for your document. Each change is attributed to the person who made it, which can be very useful in understanding the reasoning behind certain edits and decisions.

Revision History

Allows access to a comprehensive revision history to review past versions.

Not only can you see what’s been changed, but you also have the ability to go back in time and check previous versions of the document. This is incredibly useful if you need to restore earlier content or analyze the document’s development.


However, there are a few limitations to be aware of when using Google Docs to track changes.

Overwhelming for Large Documents

For extensive documents with numerous collaborators, the ‘Suggested Edits’ can become overwhelming.

Too many suggestions can clutter the document, making it difficult to navigate through actual content versus suggested changes.

Learning Curve

Some users may find it challenging to adapt to the ‘Suggested Edits’ feature.

Not everyone is tech-savvy, and for those who are accustomed to traditional word processors, the interface and functions of Google Docs may require a learning period.

Internet Dependence

Requires an internet connection to track changes in real-time.

This reliance on connectivity means that in areas with poor internet access, tracking changes and collaborating effectively can be hindered.

Additional Information

While tracking changes in Google Docs is straightforward, there are a few extra tidbits that could enhance your editing experience. For starters, you can customize the color of the suggestions for each user, making it visually easier to identify who made which suggestion. It’s also important to note that the ‘Suggested Edits’ feature allows for comments to be added to each suggestion, enabling a dialogue about specific changes right within the document.

Moreover, keyboard shortcuts can speed up your reviewing process. For instance, Ctrl + Enter (or Cmd + Enter on a Mac) allows you to quickly accept a suggestion without having to click around. And remember, if you’re managing a particularly collaborative project, setting up email notifications for document changes can keep you in the loop without needing to have the document open at all times.


  1. Open your Google Doc
  2. Click on the pencil icon
  3. Select ‘Suggesting’ mode

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I track changes made by specific individuals?

Yes, Google Docs will show the name of the person who made each suggestion when ‘Suggesting’ mode is enabled.

Are tracked changes visible to everyone with access to the document?

Tracked changes, or suggestions, are visible to anyone who has commenting or editing access to the document.

What happens to the suggestions if I convert my Google Doc to a different format?

When you download your Google Doc in another format like Microsoft Word, the suggestions will appear as comments.

Can I reject all suggestions at once?

Yes, you can reject (or accept) all suggestions at once by using the ‘Review suggested changes’ feature in the toolbar.

How do I turn off change tracking?

To stop tracking changes, simply click on the pencil icon again and switch back from ‘Suggesting’ to ‘Editing’ mode.


Mastering how to track changes in Google Docs is akin to steering the ship of collaborative work with precision and ease. It’s an invaluable skill that enhances communication, streamlines project management, and ensures the integrity of a document through various iterations. In today’s digital and interconnected world, where remote work and virtual collaboration have become the norm, being proficient in such tools is no longer just an advantage; it’s a necessity.

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting, taking the time to learn the ins and outs of Google Docs’ tracking features will pay dividends in efficiency and productivity. Remember, the goal is not just to change but to evolve and improve continuously, and what better way to do that than with the robust, user-friendly capabilities of Google Docs? So go ahead, dive in, and take your collaborative projects to the next level.

Matthew Burleigh

Matthew Burleigh has been writing tech content online for more than ten years. He enjoys writing about Google Docs in addition to many other applications and devices and has cumulatively covered Google’s word-processing application in hundreds of different articles.

He has been published on dozens of popular websites, and his works have accumulated millions of pageviews.
While focused primarily on tutorials and guides for popular electronics like the iPhone and iPad, as well as common applications like Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, and Excel, he covers topics across the entire technology spectrum.

You can read his bio here.

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