There’s no doubt that Microsoft Word transformed how people create and edit content. However, Word is not always ideal for contract negotiation and multi-party collaboration, especially when it comes to the
use misuse of Track Changes. Even those most proficient in Word have admitted to these “Doh!’ mistakes:
Remembering to turn on track changes
It’s become a natural reflex to open up a document you receive and start editing immediately. Sometimes you’ve gone too deep before realizing that Track Changes wasn’t turned on. Or, an exec sends you a cut of edits but you don’t see any visible redlines, and so begins the hunt for changes.
Forgetting you’re in “no markup” mode
Often times you want to work in the contract without being distracted by all the previous markups in the document. It’s easy to forget that you were reviewing in the “No Markup” view mode and didn’t actually accept any changes. If you mistakenly neglect to accept or reject all proposed changes and delete all comments, you can disclose confidential information to the outside party. This error can all sorts of confidential data, from business and negotiating strategy to financial information.
Blanket ‘Accept all’
When you’ve spent hours poring over multiple contract versions and merging endless edits, it’s easy to miss suggestions or feedback that were intended to be comments and not text changes. Although all may seem fine at a glance and it’s convenient to hit “accept all,” your contract may end up with unintended Easter eggs, from as simple as “Check with Kate on this” to more compromising company data that was meant for internal reference only.
While it’s a good idea to be more cautious and thorough when using Track Changes, contracts are too more important to leave to manual cautiousness alone. Consider using tools designed for contracts, like Parley Pro, that can do the meticulous consolidation of all versions and edits for you with safeguards to protect you and your company from errors.