# Track changes in rmarkdown written reports

## 2017/07/28

Categories: trivial Tags: r-markdown

## Hmmm

During the process of writing the report with the help of my supervisor, it is frequently required for several rounds of revision, such as the following scenario:

• I write the first version in Rmarkdown, compiled in pdf
• I send PDF to my supervisor
• He makes changes and send it back to me
• I make changes again, compile a new pdf and send it back

He is like (-_-)#, because there’s no track-change for my new made changes in pdfs

## Trackchange is important

I use git for the version control during writing but my supervisor don’t, neither rmarkdown.

I have planned to suggest him to use github’s history to track changes, after some digging, I think its experience is worse than that of track-change in word. I find it not worth recommending at all. Although the github history can view different changes in a lot of ways, but none of them are satisfyingly good enough for collaborative editing documents where track-change is a must:

• Rmarkdown source files doesn’t have figures or tables. The experience of reading a source markdown file is like -_- 1

For the diff function in github/rstudio is not good enough:

• It’s not intuitive or user friendly. and you have to have a github account!

• history-unified/split: whole paragraph is shown. Because they are lengthy, one can’t find the “actual” changes made 2. This maybe useful in coding but useless in tracking changes in documents. And the comment or specific lines? useless as well.

• display the rich-diff: changes are displayed nicely. However:
• It doesn’t have the comment feature (even though it’s bad)
• It may fail sometimes, showing “nahh we can’t diff this for ya”.

In summary the version control of git is really a bad idea for track-changes for documents.

## Solutions

1. Tell my supervisor to pickup rmarkdown, & github, and send him the sourcefile.
• I don’t think forcing my supervisor to learn git or rmarkdown and all the fancy stuff is a good idea.
2. Rmarkdown can knit to word
• after changes are made to the word, you have to work on the word after the first round, so what’s the purpose?
3. I WILL FALL BACK into the abyss of word.

1. Although the / in latex is much worse IMO

2. Such as a single lowercase -> uppercase