I had a manuscript accepted with major revision. I have now revised it and will resubmit shortly. The editor requested that I highlight any changes in the text, which I have done in yellow. However, I have also simply removed certain parts of the manuscript. How do I indicate this?

The editor specifically stated that the results should be reduced to X pages and discussion to not exceed Y pages, so using strikeout feels inappropriate. Can I resubmit with track changes? Or is there a better way to indicate?

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    There will be an accompanying letter in which you detail the changes. In principle you are requested to shorten the paper without affecting its sense.
    – Alchimista
    Sep 21, 2021 at 9:24

3 Answers 3


No one who is not on your editing team is likely to read the details.

However, you can be nice to your editors and offer multiple levels of detail:

  1. the shortened manuscript
  2. a list of essential changes (listing not every detail, only the important ones, possibly with rationale if relevant)
  3. a file with the complete set of changes, e.g. latexdiff/MS Word tracking if it's not overloaded.

This gives the editors the choice of level of detail they seek.


You have to find a reasonable compromise between readability and making all changes transparent. Therefore, I would advise against using the track changes function in MS Word exclusively to present your revisions. You would primarily reduce readability to an unacceptable extent.

Usually, it is fine to explain in the letter that accompanies your revision which parts you removed without making this transparent in too much detail in your revised version. In my experience, this works very well. Especially of you basically rewrite/shorten large sections, it is enough to write something like "section XY was rewritten in order to stay below the limit of Z pages, as requested by the editor". Then you can highlight the new/revised text, and you are fine.

In some cases, journals also allow to upload a specific version only used for review that includes highlighting of the changes, in addition to a non-highlighted version. In such cases, it might be appropriate strike out parts of the text or even use the track changes function because the fully readable version is also available to the reviewers.


If I was you, I would use tracked changes for all the changes, and add yellow highlighting to all the changes.

And in case the editor views it with the changes visible and thinks you have not reduced the number of pages, explicitly tell them "I have reduced the results to X pages and the discussion to Y pages, as you can see by viewing the final version with no markup in Word."

You might want to add a "Microsoft Word" tag to your question, if that tag exists.

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    For me, the track changes mode in MS Word is a nightmare in terms of readability. If I got such a document as an editor, I would send it straight back to the authors asking them to think about a better way to present their revisions. Sep 21, 2021 at 17:16
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    @Snijderfrey I really dislike MS Word, but if the journal already accepts MS Word submissions, and want a detailed changeset presented, what would be the so-called "better way to present their revisions" than the standard? It is unreasonable to demand authors to use a tailored way of solving an editing problem if there is a standard way to do so. I have put journals on a "do not submit list" for having unreasonable/nonstandard formatting/formality demands (admittedly wouldn't do it for the very top ones, but they can afford it). Authors' time is no less valuable than editors/reviewer's one. Sep 21, 2021 at 17:45
  • @CaptainEmacs, we both stated in our answers to drop some detail in the presentation of the revisions. This is a reasonable approach if you want anybody to follow the important changes. Simply switching on the track changes function will achieve exactly the opposite. Sep 21, 2021 at 17:55
  • @Snijderfrey I understood you that tracking should not be used, not even for the detailed resolution. If you see no such restriction, I misunderstood and agree with you. Sep 21, 2021 at 17:58
  • @CaptainEmacs, I think it is safe to say that we agree then. I just would not expect that any of the reviewers or the editor really looks at that level of detail, and therefore relying on that exclusively will most likely cause irritations. Sep 21, 2021 at 18:18

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