Track Changes In PowerPoint

Unfortunately, there is still no functionality to track changes in PowerPoint. You can achieveĀ  something similar to what track changes gives you in Word, but you have to manage comments, responses, feedback etc. yourself. Doing it this way allows you to get suggestions for changes from your colleagues, but it is the presentation owner who actually makes the changes.

A good way to capture feedback is to get your colleagues to use the comments feature in PowerPoint. Comments in PowerPoint 2013 are much improved and can initiate useful discussions about the presentation being viewed. Each comment is tagged with the name of the user who made it, so you know who thinks what.

You could email everyone in your team a copy of the presentation. However, if you do this, you will receive multiple copies back from them, all with different comments. Compiling all comments into one “master” presentation would be a nightmare. A better solution is to store the presentation in one central location and invite all contributors to comment on it. Microsoft SkyDrive is a good location to store a presentation that you want to share.

To make this work, it’s a good idea to save the original presentation somewhere on your computer. Then you will always have the original to refer to. Next, post a second copy to SkyDrive and ask your colleagues to provide feedback by leaving comments in it. You can email them with a link to the shared presentation so they know where it is. You may need to give permissions to your reviewers so they can access your presentation.

Once the feedback process is complete, it’s sometimes useful to remove permissions from the shared presentation. Doing so will stop further comments being left that you might miss.

Open both the original and the shared presentation and work through all the comments left in the shared version. The Review tab is where you need to go to view comments. Use the Next and Previous buttons in the Comments group to navigate them.

Each comment is marked by a speech bubble that looks like this:

Speech Bubble

If you read a comments that you agree with, you can make appropriate changes to your original presentation, saving the file after each one.

Comments In PowerPoint 2013

The ability to add comments to slides and review them has been around for a while in PowerPoint. However, Powerpoint 2013 comments are much improved.

Comments can be used in a variety of ways. There might be the “lead” creator of a presentation who appeals for feedback from colleagues – comments are a great way to give that feedback. Or there might be a team of people whose collective responsibility is to create the presentation, and comments provide a way to collaborate.

Adding Comments To A Slide

Adding comments to a slide is a simple process. Select the slide you want to comments on and then go to the review tab. In the Comments group click on New Comment. The Comments panel will open on the right of the workspace.

New Comment

Leave your comment by typing in the box. When you take the focus away from the box (press Enter, click somewhere else, etc.), the comment has been added. Your colleagues can reply to your comment using the Reply… box.

Reply To Comments

In this way you can initiate a discussion that helps the collaborative process. You’ll notice that each comment is tagged with your user name and this helps you identify who said what. While you’re adding and replying to comments you’ll see the Show Comments button highlighted, because the Comments panel is open.

Show Comments In PowerPoint 2013

The Comments panel takes up valuable space on your screen so to close down the panel and crate more space for you to work in, you can click on the top half of the Show Comments button or click on the ‘X’ in the top right of the panel itself. To view comments again, just click on the button again.

You can repeat the process of adding and replying to comments on further slides. The comments you see in the Comments panel always refer to the current slide.

PowerPoint 2013 Visual Clue For Comments

After you have added a comment to a slide, you should see a small speech bubble in the top left of the slide. If you don’t see this, click on the lower half of the Show Comments button and make sure that Show Markup is checked.

Show Markup

Here is that speech bubble:

Speech Bubble

What’s good about this little indicator is that you can drag it to any location on your slide. So if you make a comment about the slide title, you can drag the speech bubble to the side of the slide title. Like so:

Drag The Speech Bubble

If you hover over a particular speech bubble, the corresponding comments are highlighted with a red border in the Comments panel. Conversely, you can select a particular comment in the Comments panel, and the corresponding speech bubble becomes highlighted on the slide.

Delete a comment by clicking on on the ‘X’ in the top right (not of the panel, of the comment!).

Delete Comment

The Previous and Next buttons in the Comments group enable you to navigate between the different comments – not just on the current slide but the next and previous slides too. You can also delete comments using the Delete command, with the following options:

  • just the currently selected comment
  • all comments (and ink) on the current slide
  • all comments (an ink) in the whole presentation