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  • Writer's pictureIntellext Contributor

What is Contract Redlining?

Oct 14, 2020 | Blog

Document and contract management is a process that takes advantage of various techniques and technologies to show text edits to other parties involved in the collaboration. Redlining is one of these, although it has fallen out of favor for some (including those of us here). What exactly is redlining, though, and what are some of the reasons it doesn’t work that well for document change tracking? Well, we’re here to answer those questions.

What is Contract Redlining?

Contract redlining (or sometimes just redlining if you appreciate brevity) sounds like very technical jargon, but it’s not that complicated. It’s merely a technique used in contract collaboration that marks the text to show additions, revisions, and general edits. Every person involved can separately mark. The text will appear in a special color or in a bolded format to track these changes, maintaining transparency even in a larger team.

Redlining used to be the most common form of modification tracking in the days of pen and paper, but it has managed to survive in the digital age, although it does look a little different now. Modern redlining now takes two files as input, comparing the full document against the other to find the largest common text blocks to determine where any overlap occurs and showing everything else as deleted or added. A new output document is then created to show these discrepancies and modifications.

Why Do People Use Redlining?

So, now that you know what redlining is, you’re probably wondering why people use it. After all, there are surely alternatives out there. You’d be correct, but people often turn to redlining because it is familiar, reasonably simple, and diplomatic. It’s easy to see where each party has changed things up, which allows for greater clarity for drafting documents. It also has the side effect of showing where individuals have the most concerns, what terms the majority of their scrutiny is focused on, etcetera. In this way, redlining allows you to see each party’s priorities and issues, meeting them where they are and making provisions that everyone can agree to.

The Problems with Redlining

Those are all good things, but the editing management technique isn’t without its disadvantages as well. It presents plenty of challenges that can completely throw a wrench in the contract drafting process, drawing things out and overall causing a minor (or potentially major) logistical nightmare. One of the most significant issues among these is that redlining requires any changes to be tracked within the document. Forgetting to enable this right from the get-go can break the entire redlining process, losing changes in the mix-up and being forced to read over the entire document to catch what’s fallen through the cracks. Not exactly efficient.

On top of this, loss of formatting, reading difficulties, residual metadata, and device compatibility issues also pose a problem, potentially making redlining tools more trouble than they’re worth. That’s why our SaaS opts for intelligent analytics and simple, straightforward presentation. It gets rid of the noise, so you don’t have to, making alignment and collaboration more effortless than ever.

About Intellext™

Intellext is an AI startup that is revolutionizing the way contracts are negotiated, accelerating time to close, and improving deal terms. Intellext’s Intelligent Negotiation Platform™ eliminates the complexities of contract redlines and stakeholder collaboration and optimizes deal terms by applying machine learning during the negotiation process.

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