When you hire an editor to work on your material, they will usually expect you to be working in Microsoft Word, and they will usually plan to edit your material with track changes enabled.
The Microsoft Word near-monopoly in editing isn’t absolute, but it’s the industry standard, and if you need to work with a different word processor or platform, it’s best to mention it to your editor up front. For my part, I can work in LaTeX, Wordpress, and Google Docs, but I prefer to edit in Microsoft Word when it’s an option, for one particular tool: track changes.
Track changes sounds very much like what it is. Your editor uses it to track the changes they make in your document so that you can easily see where something was deleted, inserted, moved, or changed. If you’ve ever seen a Word doc plastered with colorful lines and bubbles and notes, that’s the work of track changes.
How to Read Changes in Track Changes
The following two images show a passage that hasn’t been edited yet (figure 1) and the same passage edited with track changes (figure 2). The red marks and the descriptions in the bubbles on the right in figure 2 indicate what kind of changes I made. There are types of edits not shown, but we can look at the four most common here: insertions, deletions, formatting, and (not really an edit but handled in the same place) comments. I also provide a short note on moves.
I'm Lea, a freelance editor who specializes in academic and nonfiction materials. More info about my services is available throughout this site.