Tracking Changes in PowerPoint: Setting, Modifying and Discarding Changes

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  • 0:01 Collaboration
  • 1:18 Option 1 - Comments
  • 3:22 Option 2 - Compare
  • 5:21 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Karen Sorensen

Karen has a Bachelors in Communications. She has 25 years of experience in Information Systems, Adult Learning and Virtual Training.

In this lesson, you will learn about giving input on a presentation by adding Comments to a slide. You will also learn how to Compare two different presentations and address differences between the two.


Imagine you are working on a project team, and you have been assigned the task of creating a presentation for an upcoming meeting. There are five on the team, including yourself. The other four are the subject matter experts. However, you are the PowerPoint guru, so you will be creating the presentation with their input. After your first project meeting with the other team members, you create the first draft of your presentation, and now it's time to get their feedback.

Sure, you could send all four team members a copy of the presentation, have them make their changes (or worse, make edits with a red pen on printed copy), and send it back. But, compiling all the comments into one master would be a nightmare!

Technically, PowerPoint does not 'track changes' the way a Microsoft Word document might. However, there are two features that will definitely come to your rescue: Comments and Compare. In this lesson, we will learn how these two options will help when a team is working on one presentation. I tend to pick one or the other when I need to collaborate on a PowerPoint project, but you could use them both on the same project. I believe it depends on the specific situation and the type of collaboration during the project.

Option 1 - Comments

Okay, so option one is using comments. Using the Comments feature is one way to give input or feedback on a PowerPoint presentation. Consider comments as sticky notes attached to your slide. One nice thing about this feature is that each comment is tagged with the name of the person that inserted the note, so you know who made the comment.

If we go back to the project team example, you can send each of your subject matter experts a copy of the presentation. Then, they can insert their comments and send it back. It could be even easier if you are part of an organization that has a network drive or a shared place where you can put the PowerPoint file. If your whole team could access the same presentation, you wouldn't need five different copies. Each member could add their comments to the same PowerPoint file. Let's take a look at how to add comments.

Open the presentation and click on the Review tab. In the Comments group, click on the New Comment command and notice what happened on the screen.

  • First, a panel opened on the right side of the screen.
  • Next, a text box, with my name, is ready for me to add my comment.
  • You'll see a speech bubble appeared in the upper left-hand corner of the slide, denoting that there is a comment on this page. I can drag the speech bubble to the area of the screen that the comment references.

To review each comment, use the Previous and Next commands in the Comments group of the ribbon. If you want to delete the comment, click on the Delete command.

And there you have it! Each member of the team can add their comments to the presentation. You will be able to see what page the comment addresses, what content on the slide the comment is referring to, and who made the comment. As you step through each comment, you can make the necessary changes to the slide and then decide if the comment can be deleted.

Option 2 - Compare

So, let's move on to the second option, which is compare. Compare is one of my favorite features in PowerPoint. It sounds a bit confusing, but it actually is really easy to use. This group of commands allows you to compare versions of your documents. Let me give you an example.

Let's go back to our project team. The first draft is finally complete, and the other four project team members met and made several changes to the draft. They created one copy with all the changes and have emailed you the file. And using the Compare command, you can make PowerPoint open both the original draft and the modified draft at the same time. It will show you all of the changes that were made, and then you can accept or reject the changes.

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