I found an interesting feature in MS Word that might change how I edit documents in the future.
It’s the “Compare Documents” feature. Take two files, say, Original and Edited Copy. Then insert them into the grinder, and out pops a marked-up document just as if you did the “one line at a time” thing with Track Changes on.
In short, if I’m editing, I can just make the changes I want to make. No notes, just change stuff.
Then I can go back, re-read without all the markup, see how it sounds.
Then when I get satisfied, I can use Compare Document and each change will be automatically called out. If I need or want to make notes, I can do it in the final. I can even send co-authors both copies, a clean one and a marked-up one, with no fuss. If I need to make annotations “I did it this way because . . . ” I can do it in a final “explanatory” pass.
I will be trying this on my next manuscript. We’ll see how it goes.
Note: This isn’t new. It’s not even technically new to me, having done this exact thing for Reasons for a colleague at work. But doing it this way in order to edit a manuscript cleanly and then give my collaborator something that calls out changes was a likely-belated realization and potential time-saver.