Option to remove timestamps from comments & track changes but not remove author name
Editors the world over are looking for a way to remove all timestamps from comments & track changes but not remove the comment & track changes author name. The timestamps are read-only, so cannot be changed with a macro, but can only be changed by going into the Word .zip file and running a Find & Replace. This could be a property that could be locked with a password at the document creator's discretion.
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It appears this was available in previous Word 2016 version, though has since been forgotten/removed upon Word 365 version. See here (https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/msoffice/forum/all/remove-timestamp-from-track-changes-in-office-365/d47657ce-577c-486c-8e40-4454ee69c6cd) for Word 2016 route on this.
However, it does seem possible that there may be a somewhat hidden and perhaps not straightforward way of achieving this in Word 365. Via way of changing file type and many steps to change the file from word file into zip then into XML before changing code in the file, and then putting it back into zip, before eventually back to word file - in case this works in the interim you can check this out here (https://www.extendoffice.com/documents/word/5516-word-remove-time-from-comments.html). Apologies if this is by chance the zip file change method you were also referring to.
It looks like this (https://wordribbon.tips.net/T010121_Removing_the_Time_Stamp_from_Tracked_Changes.html) is the Macro method workaround for this. Though notably it does at the end of this article state this fix (10121) is relevant only to versions from 2007 through to 2016; so not confirming as to Word 365 version.
Nonetheless, it would seem best for this functionality (seemingly available to an extent in previous versions) is available in current/future releases of Word.
Talking of Word so far on this issue, it may also be worth clarifying from everyone in comments here on this forum topic whether this option to remove timestamps from comments and track changes would also be beneficial and/or more useful if it were to be available in all other Microsoft Office applications (e.g. Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) too ?
Steven Polczynski commented
I agree. It serves no purpose for me or the people I edit for. Only the editor's name is important to give proper credit.
A refined requirement, based on four decades of document generation/reviewing/proofing:
When using Comments and Track Changes, Word shall allow the User (Document owner, Author or other person) to select and to deselect the:
- Comment's/Change's author's name. When deselected, the Author's name shall be replace by 'Author'. The default shall be Author's name displayed.
- Time and Date Stamp. When deselected, the field shall be blank. The default shall be a blank field.
Word shall allow the Document creator to password lock the above selections.
Danny T commented
Agreed. Thanks for posting. This seems like an obvious feature to have. You used to be able to do this; I don't know why it was changed.
Agree with this suggestion.
It should also be allowed for it to be a global setting across any Office application.
Rose Norman commented
I concur, I'd prefer them to be optional!
Yes, please! This would be wonderful and save me a lot of hassle.
For many users who review documents, the timestamp is both unnecessary and unwanted, eg where the review process isn't a reciprocal procedure. I was very surprised (and annoyed) to discover it couldn't be turned off. Please make it optional. I support the previous comments and agree that the simplest and most useful way would be an option to remove the timestamps from the document once editing is completed. That way, reviewers have the option to save a time-stamped version for their own records if so desired, and another version with no timestamps.
Mary Ellen commented
I support this! I have often wanted such a feature. On top of the reasons already given, it would be helpful if I could set all the timestamps to the date on which I give a manuscript back to the client; saves confusion later on.
Yes. Please. It should be left to the discretion of the user whether to provide time stamp information within a document.
I agree - please provide an option to remove time stamps.
Linda Branam commented
I agree that adding this feature is long overdue.
Aden Nichols commented
Timestamps have been an annoyance for freelance editors for years. I can see no legitimate reason not to allow a user to toggle timestamps on/off or strip them out once editing is complete. This would be a useful option.
And not just “all user data” which obliterates distinctions between reviewers!
Theresa Truax-Gischler commented
Because time stamps are a default setting, Microsoft effectively requires all co-authors, editors, and translators to punch a time card as they co-write, edit, or translate, with no ability to opt out of "time stamps" but at the same time opt in to "authorship." That raises privacy issues, which Microsoft should consider more thoroughly.
Removal of time stamps in revisions and comments can currently be achieved by using the Document Inspector > Document Properties and Personal Information. However, this process also removes author names; many authors, editors, and translators wish to retain their name in the document. The request is thus to separate the option to remove time stamps from the option to remove author names. As I have noted in my request, this feature could be locked by the document creator. Given feedback in the comments, it could also be included as an option upon completion of the co-authoring/editing/translating.
Susan Semadeni commented
I don't think I'd want them disabled from the get-go, as I've had to refer back to timestamps for my own reference in the past, but an option to remove them upon completion of the document before delivering it to the end user would be helpful.
Yes, remove these.