Disappearing Changes?

Subject: Disappearing Changes?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, Melissa Nelson <melmis36 -at- hotmail -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 11 Jan 2006 11:12:46 -0500

Melissa Nelson wondered: <<I edited a Word doc last week, that had been edited a million times by a number of other people, and the changes I made...disappeared. I double-checked the disappearance with my PM and she remembers the changes as well and agrees that they disappeared. Anyone have a clue how that could have happened?>>

The good news is that unless all those millions of edits are simultaneously present in the document, you shouldn't "lose" any of the edits. There appear to be at least 16 distinct colors for tracking revisions "by author", which suggests you shouldn't have any problem before hitting that number. Afterwards? Never had opportunity to test that, thankfully.

There are so many potential common causes for this that it's hard to know where to begin. The one I see repeatedly is that someone turned off the display of tracked changes so they could look at the results of the edits rather than the actual edits; in that case, the edits are still there, just invisible. Turn on the display again and you'll see them.

Another, filed under the category of "d'oh", is that one of those "millions" sent you the wrong version of the file. You'd be amazed at how often this happens. If you're maintaining backups of all versions of your files--and if not, you really should be--it's easy to recover your latest version and start it back through the list of reviewers.

Less-obvious possibilities: Someone reviewed your changes then unwisely chose "accept all" or "reject all". Someone turned on "versioning" (under the File menu) and you're simply looking at the wrong version. Someone edited the file in WordPerfect, which occasionally does unfortunate things to edited Word files.

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Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca
(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)
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Disappearing Changes: From: Melissa Nelson

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