What is Redlining a Document?

You are Better Off than the Average Cave Man. Really.

Imagine you were a caveman way back in the stone age when contracts were set in stone. You’d be chopping and hacking for weeks, maybe months before you’d finish all the terms and conditions. Phew, talk about hard work! And along came your counterpart, requesting a ‘minor change’. You couldn’t just erase it, could you? Can you imagine hauling in a brand new piece of rock to start all over again? Nope, you’d rather bash his head. Shows him for not accepting your standard terms and conditions, right? Both, customer and supplier are way better off nowadays with all them nifty tools and software-thingies. And still, we do not like it when our counterpart comes along requesting all kinds of changes on our texts. Though tempted maybe, you know better than to bash his head, don’t you? But still, if you’d only knew some tips and tricks to take away that temptation…

This is the first post in a series on redlining documents. As a contract manager you’ll be doing a lot of redlining and I’d like to share some tips and tricks with you on doing this the proper way, making your job a little easier (and less messy). But before we dive in, let’s first start with answering the question:

What Does Redlining a Contract Mean?

I went out on the internet to find a definition, and found a nice one on Webopedia. According to this website “redlining” refers to marking text that has been edited. Typically, redlining is used when two or more people are working on a document together; each individual can redline the text he or she has added or edited. The redlined text will then appear in a special color (or as bold) so that others can see the changes that have been made.

So when we’re talking about redlining a contract, it’s about sending back and forth the contract texts to have them checked, and where applicable edited, right up to the point where both parties agree to sign it.
Note, that this process repeats itself each and every time you want to add or change something to the commitments along the way.

How to Redline a Document? My 8 Main Tips and Tricks.

How to go about redlining a contract? Well, here are my 8 main tips and tricks (click on ‘em to read more):


Well, There You Have It.

The first post in a series on redlining contracts. I am sure they will come to use someday.

Next Up: More Tips on Contract Governance – Don’t Miss Out!

Now be sure to check on my website every now and then because I’ll be giving you more tips and tricks of the trade on how to have successful IT contracts. Don’t miss out, simply sign up using the form at the bottom of this page.

For now,

Kind Regards,

Jaap Nijssen

Jaap Nijssen


Don’t Keep This To Yourself, Please Share.

massimiliano valentini

Surely to tailor a Standard Company Contract to a specific one is a hard job. The most important thing is to focus correctly the Scope of Work, that shall be related to an EPC Contract or to a dedicate specific job.
Contract Coordinator role became much more complicated as the number of Staff key personnel increase.
Each of the managers that shall be involved (Project Manager, Technical Manager, Construction Manager, Project Planning Manager, only to indicate some of those players) in the final writing of the Contract focus the document according to his/her point of view. It’s imperative to lead the review of the Standard Company Contract in a proper manner. Red-lining or all the tools dedicated to the Review in writing programs were created to help the user, but only if the user still remain the same and not much more then two!
The best solution, according to a bad experience I had, is to call a meeting in which all the points to be modified are discussed together with the Staff team and then send the Basic Contract Document to everyone in order that each of the people involved in the revision shall add their comments or new paragraphs as per the hold meeting.
Only after the Contract Coordinator shall insert, with red-lining, the new parts in the starting Documents, and then redistribute the updated Document to the staff team for minor comments or to verify the consistency of the new paragraphs.

Hello Massimiliano,
Thank you for sharing this valuable knowledge and advice. Your advice fits right into my upcoming post on redlining which will be on being clear in advance on the process, roles and techniques to use, and one on ‘being in the drivers’ seat’ to be able to keep up with things. And yes, a good Contract Coordinator / Contract Administrator is key to be successful. So, again, thank you and please do comment more on my posts in future and share your knowledge.
Kind Regards, Jaap

Hello all,

Really I would like to thank you about the knowledge that you have been sharing and I’ll keep this site because I found a lot of it useful information and I will do my best as contract coordinator in order to share useful topics.

Best regards for all.

Thank you very much Yazid and I hope to be welcoming you again soon. Regards from Holland, Jaap.

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