Bert will always be on the lookout for gremlins. His agency had successfully pitched and won through to the final round of competitive presentations for a large multi-national account. As part of the final hurdle, Bert was asked to submit a credentials' outline detailing recent accounts, staff CVs, budget proposals, etc. In order to create a top-quality report, Bert asked one of his more well-versed colleagues to proof read the proposal. No problem. The changes were made and everything looked great. The document was saved and dully emailed to the prospective client. Perfect. Or so Bert thought.

When the disappointing news arrived telling Bert that his company had not won the pitch, he was flabbergasted and also a little bemused. Where had he gone wrong? Well, the client was just as shocked. He thought Bert really was the benchmark from which to measure the others. However when the client had opened the final proposal, saved in a Word document, it was full of errors, with cryptic messages, red line strikeouts, and insertions and deletions throughout. He really could not believe what he was reading. Anyone submitting a piece of work with that amount of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors just could not be up to standard.

Surely Bert had asked his employee to check the document, and he had willingly amended the errors. What had gone wrong? Well, to err on the side of caution - or so he thought - the employee had tracked changes so that Bert could have the final approval to any of the corrections suggested. It should have been a case of simply reviewing what the proof reader had amended and then accepting or rejecting the corrections. Simple. Actually, in this case, it wasn't. Bert had failed to realise that although the reviewer had tracked changes, he had not committed any of the amendments to the final version of the presentation document. The simple oversight cost him a national account.

Most of us have been in a similar situation as Bert at some time: we receive a document from a colleague, and save it under a new name then tailor it to our needs. It never occurs to us that our colleague may have left comments in the original document, because we can't see them in our copy. When we are ready to pass the document along to someone else, we want to send them our version of the document, not an accumulation of the original document, our colleague's comments, and our updates; they should see the result of our editing, not the thought process we went through to get there.

When you use the Tracking options in Microsoft Word 2010 you can be sure you will incorporate tracked changes, once and for all. Word tracks changes, and displays deletions in balloons in the margins and insertions as underlined text. Deletions - as well as comments (or "annotations") - can also be displayed to appear in line. There are various ways to hide the tracked changes or comments - but all the changes that were made while the Track Changes feature was turned on, and all the comments that were inserted, remain part of the document until they are accepted or rejected (or, in the case of comments, deleted). Word 2010 now comes with a feature called Document Inspector that allows you to check any document for tracked changes, comments, hidden text, and other personal information.

To check a Word document, simply select the File tab, then click on Info. Now choose Check for Issues, and then click Inspect Document. In the Document Inspector dialog box, click Inspect to review the inspection results. If Document Inspector finds comments and tracked changes, you are prompted to click Remove All next to Comments, Revisions, Versions, and Annotations. You can now select to Reinspect or Close.

You can save time by clicking Accept All Changes in Document, or Reject All Changes in Document. To remove all comments, you must delete them. In the Comments group, click the arrow next to Delete, and then click Delete All Comments in Document.

A good piece of advice to keep in mind is that given by Heather Allard, founder of 2 Virtues Inc: "Ultimately, proposals are about substance, not semblance. A powerful pitch could be written on toilet paper and be effective. By the same token, a poorly written pitch could arrive on gold-lined stationery, and it wouldn't make any impact." Heather's tip is just one reason alone to ensure you know how to use Tracking in Word - especially when your stationery is electronic.