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Markup Madness

One of Word’s strengths, at least in my opinion, is the way it lets you mark up a document. Markup consists of comments as well as insertions and deletions, and formatting changes made with Track Changes turned on. When you are in Print Layout view, comments, and deletions are displayed onscreen in balloons in the margin—very clear and easy to work with. What if you want to print the document with some or all the markup? You might be in for some confusion.

Onscreen things are done quite nicely. What is displayed or hidden is controlled by the Show button on the Reviewing toolbar. You can choose to individually display or hide comments, insertions and deletions, and formatting changes. However, in the Print dialog box there is the Print What option that offers two settings that are relevant to markup: Document and Document Showing Markup.

These options do not work as you would expect. Specifically, selecting Document Showing Markup does not print the markup unless it is displayed onscreen. I believe that the markup-related printing options should be mostly independent of what’s on the screen. I suggest three markup-related option settings for the Print What option:

  • Document only: Prints the document with no markup regardless of what’s displayed onscreen.
  • Document with displayed markup: Print the document with whatever markup elements are displayed onscreen (as selected using the Reviewing toolbar).
  • Document with all markup: Prints the document with all markup regardless of what’s displayed onscreen.

This arrangement would be clearer as well as offering the user more control over what prints.

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