Tip of the week # 652
29 April 2021

Ten things you may not know about Comments (Microsoft Word) *

Comments in documents are typically used to ask a question or give a suggestion for a change in the document. As a Microsoft 365 subscriber, you regularly get new and improved features and some have to do with comments. Other options about this functionality were always a bit "hidden", so time to share my ten things you may not know about Comments ...

  1. Did you spot the new Comments button in the very top right hand corner of your Word application window? You can use it to quickly add a New Comment or jump to the Previous or Next comment. (It's also there in PowerPoint and Excel.)
  2. But why not make them even easier to access, by right-clicking anywhere on the group name called Comments (not any of the buttons) on the Review tab and click on Add to Quick Access Toolbar? You now have quick access to New Comment, Delete, Previous, Next and Show Comments.
  3. If the Show Comments button is greyed out, select Simple Markup - rather than All Markup - from the drop-down arrow in the Tracking group on the Review tab.
  4. Comments now have a Reply and Resolve option.
  5. Resolved comments will be dimmed, but can be Reopened.
  6. Don't waste time trying to hide comments you marked as Resolved. You cannot. If you feel strong about it, vote for this to be implemented in one of the next releases, using UserVoice, the official suggestion box for Word. So far 22 people voted for it. (I'm one of them.)
  7. Resolve will be greyed out if the document was created or last saved in Word 2010 or earlier. (I hope Microsoft will change this.)
  8. When finished typing your comment, press the ESC key in the top left hand corner of your keyboard if you want to keep your hands on the keyboard. (Otherwise feel free to pick up the mouse and click anywhere in the document.)
  9. Speaking of keeping your hands on the keyboard . use Alt Gr + M or CTRL + ALT + M to insert a comment. (With special thanks to Aurora Walshe who wrote in the chat during a recent webinar that this keyboard shortcut was essential for her when she was an editor.)
  10. Click on the Show Markup button in the Tracking group on the Review tab and untick Comments to completely hide all comments - even from printing. (The Show Comments button described in tip # 2 is a toggle and will still show a speech bubble alongside the document and will also print any comments.)

Word for the Web has even more new features, such as using the @-sign with someone's name, which will automatically send a mail with a link to your comment, as well as the possibility to mark comments as "Done". But as mentioned in italics at the bottom (*) I write these tips for desktop app users, so this was it for this week! Let me know which of the 10 things you didn't know and are going to use.

Related tips

  1. Warn before printing, saving or sending a file that contains tracked changes or comments - tip_584.php
  2. Customizing the Quick Access Toolbar - tip_227.php

* Unless stated otherwise this tip is written for Microsoft 365 desktop apps and Windows 10 users, but might also be useful in Office 2010, 2013 and 2016.