Flagging essential corrections

When editing in Microsoft Word, I ordinarily track content changes—that is, spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and any other edits that alter the text. I don’t track formatting such as styles, deletion of extra spaces, or addition of nonbreaking spaces and hyphens. They don’t alter the content.

But all those content changes aren’t equal. Some reduce wordiness—for example, changing in the development of to developing. That’s worth doing, but it’s not crucial.

When I did most editing on paper, I often used two colors of ink: blue for changes that are worthwhile but not crucial, and red for essential things such as the company name misspelled.

The same writer who named “Steve’s Hall of Shame” gave me another good suggestion: mark the crucial changes by inserting a note using Word’s Comment feature. That way, somebody who goes through the document accepting and rejecting changes will be alerted that there’s an important edit that shouldn’t be overlooked or accidentally rejected.

Do you have any other methods of flagging changes according to their importance?

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