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With the world going digital, it would not be surprising if you received a contract in digital form. There is a high chance that the file is in DOCX format. For Windows PCs, the default program for opening such files is Microsoft Word. And because of how good MS Word is, many macOS users also opt to install it on their devices. So, you may be wondering, "How do you use MS Word to propose changes to the contract?" That's what we'll be discussing. Here's how to redline in Word.

But that is not all. This article will also teach you an alternative method that many businesses would consider is the better method. You will learn how to redline using Wondershare PDFelement.

In this article
    1. How To Accept Redline Changes in Word?
  1. Is it Better To Redline in Word or in PDF?
  2. How To Redline Word Document in Wondershare PDFelement
    1. Provide Rationale
    2. Use Professional Tone
    3. Overuse of Redlining
    4. Choose User-Friendly Tools

Part 1. How To Redline Documents in Word?

Microsoft Word is a popular word processor. It is easy to learn and comes pre-installed on most computers. The tool also has many helpful features, including advanced ones that aren't available in similar apps. For example, Microsoft Word has the Track Changes and Comments features. You can use these two to redline contracts and other documents.

How does it work? Track Changes shows you all the changes made to the document. MS Word adds a strikethrough to the words you deleted or changed and makes the font color red. Likewise, the words you inserted will have the red font color but without a strikethrough.

So, how do you use the Track Changes feature to propose changes? Here are the steps:

  1. Open the document with Microsoft Word.
  2. Go to the REVIEW tab.
  3. Click Track Changes.
activating ms word track changes feature
  1. Make changes to the document. Delete sentences you want to remove and replace them with new ones, or simply edit the wording. You will see the deleted words marked with a red strikethrough and the added words in red font color.
making edits on the document
  1.  Following standard protocols, explain the changes you made. Select the text you edited > click New Comment.
  2. Type your explanation in the pop-up box that will appear.
adding explanation for the changes made
  1. Save the document.

Part 1.1 How To Accept Redline Changes in Word?

Suppose you received a redlined document. Here is how you accept or reject the proposed changes.

  1. Open the redlined document in MS Word.
  2. Click the beginning of the document.
  3. Go to the Review tab.
  4. Look at the Changes section. MS Word will find the first redlined text. Review it and click Accept or Reject based on your decision.
accepting an edit made in word
  1. MS Word will find the next redlined text. Repeat step 5 until you have gone through all the suggested changes.

Part 2. Is it Better To Redline in Word or in PDF?

Redlining in Word is ok. But there are some who may dislike this method of redlining. When you redline using Word, you are already making the changes. These changes will be shown to the other party. It comes off as a little aggressive, even though you aren't trying to be aggressive. Some would rather hear the changes you want first before editing the document. It is more polite and professional that way.

Furthermore, Word files are not known for consistency. You open it on your device, and everything is in place. Then you open the same file on another device and the formatting has changed. This is the main reason why PDF exists. You can view PDFs on different platforms and editors, and they will all look the same.

On top of that, when relining a PDF, you are suggesting changes rather than editing the document. As mentioned above, that is preferred. So, the verdict is that redlining PDFs is better than redlining in Word.

Part 3. How To Redline Word Document in Wondershare PDFelement

Wondershare PDFelement is one great PDF tool for redlining. It is very user-friendly and affordable. Therefore, getting the other party to agree to use PDFelement for contract negotiations would not need much convincing.

You can use either the Highlight or the Strikeout feature on the Comment tab to redline the document. On the left panel, you can explain what changes you want to make and why. After redlining, you can use the Encrypt feature to password-protect the document to ensure that only authorized people can access it. Last, you can use the Share feature to quickly send the redlined document to the other party without leaving the PDFelement screen.

Follow these steps to do that:

  1. Launch Wondershare PDFelement and click Open PDF. Select the file and open it. If it is a Word file, click + > From File instead. Wondershare PDFelement will automatically convert it into PDF.

opening a word file in pdfelement
  1. Go to the Comment tab.
  2. Select the tool you want to use for redlining. You can:
    1. Click Highlight > red.
using pdfelement highlight feature
    1. Click the arrow down button next to the Underline button > Strikeout.

using pdfelement strikeout feature
  1. Select the text in the PDF that you want to change. On the Comment panel on the left, click Add Comment. Type the explanations for the changes you want to make.
using comments to propose changes
  1. Repeat Step 4 until you are satisfied.
  2. Click Share > Email. Compose the email and send the redlined PDF to the counterparty.

using wondershare pdfelement share feature

Part 4. Best Practices for Redlining Word Documents and PDFs

Here are some things that you should remember when redlining documents.

Provide Rationale

Whether you are redlining in Word or in PDFelement, do not forget to give explanations. Do not just demand changes; explain why you want those changes to happen. You can always use the Comment feature for this. It will make the negotiation process faster, as the counterparty would not need to message you to ask for reasons.

Use Professional Tone

The golden rule when redlining is to remember that it is cooperative rather than confrontational. Ask for the changes politely. To do so, use a formal and professional tone when proposing changes. Avoid using inflammatory language and making personal attacks at all costs. Also, do not make unreasonable demands. If you do not follow these, there will be a strain in your relationship with the counterparty, and that can break the deal.

Overuse of Redlining

There’s something called “overuse of redlining.” It’s when you mark up every aspect of a document excessively. This makes things too complicated and takes longer to agree on. It can make the counterparty feel overwhelmed and cause problems in discussions. Focus on the big things, not every little detail. That way, everyone can work together better and get things done faster.

Choose User-Friendly Tools

You are redlining digitally to reduce the time and resources spent on contract negotiation. Using an advanced tool seems like a great idea. However, many of them are difficult to use for beginners. If you or the counterparty are not familiar with the tool, you will be spending lots of time learning how to use it. That is counterproductive.

With that said, it is important to choose user-friendly tools. You will understand how they work very quickly, allowing you to focus on redlining.


How to redline in Word? Simple. You use the Track Changes feature and make your desired edits. But if you want a better way to redline, switch to using a PDF tool. PDFs are generally more consistent than DOCX, and it is closer to the traditional way of redlining.

Of course, you would need a PDF editor, and Wondershare PDFelement is the best one you can find. It is intuitive, cost-effective, and feature-rich. Wondershare PDFelement provides you with all the redlining tools you can wish for. Comments, Encrypt, Share, and even digital signatures - Wondershare PDFelement has them all. So look no further and use Wondershare PDFelement for your redlining needs.

Audrey Goodwin
Audrey Goodwin Apr 24, 24
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12 years of talent acquired in the software industry working with large publishers. Public speaker and author of several eBooks on technical writing and editing.