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Customising comment boxes in Word

19 Oct

A lot of people find this blog when they’re trying to sort out specific problems with their comment boxes (comment boxes suddenly going tiny, or comment box text running in the wrong direction, changing the language in your comment balloons). Here are general instructions on customising your comment boxes (or balloons, as they are officially called) in Word.

Why would I want to customise my comment balloons?

To be honest, the main reason for doing this is if something goes wrong. But the standard, default text size and layout may not be suitable for your purposes, and you might want to change it to make it more readable for someone with limited vision, etc.

You might also have preferences about which margin your comment balloons appear in, and how big they are.

The principles we are going to learn about here also apply when you want to customise the general styles in your document, which we will look in particular another time.

If you take a look at a document with standard comment boxes, you will see they look something like this:

Annoyingly, you will need to go to three different places to make these changes. I provide a recap at the end, but a summary might be useful here:

  • To change the location and size of balloons: Track Changes – Track Changes Options
  • To change the size, font, colour etc.of the heading (Comment M2 etc) AND/OR the size of all text in the comment balloon: Styles – Balloon text
  • To change the font and colour of the actual paragraph of text in the balloon AND/OR the size of all of the text in the comment balloon: Styles – Comment text

Note: my article on customising Track Changes will tell you how to change the colours in which the comments and corrections by different reviewers appear.

How to change where your balloons appear and their size

If you want to change which margin your balloons appear in, their size, and whether they are linked to the text by a line, you must go into the Track Changes Options menu. In the Review tab, click on the little arrow at the bottom of the Track Changes button and bring up Track Changes Options. There, at the bottom, is your balloons section:

I think this is fairly self-explanatory.

How to find the menu for customising comment balloon text

There are two ways to reach the menu you need:

  • Press Control + Alt + Shift + s all at the same time
  • Make sure you’re in the Home tab and click on the little tiny arrow at the bottom right of the Styles menu

Either of these options will bring up the full Styles dialogue box.

Using either of these methods, you will bring up the Styles dialogue box.

Now, ignore all of it except the three buttons at the bottom. Click on the rightmost button: Manage Styles to bring up the next box: Manage Styles. When you first open this window, the sort order is in what Word thinks is a useful order: As Recommendedclick on the down arrow to change it to Alphabetical:

Once you’ve got the list into alphabetical order, it’s relatively easy to find Balloon Text (note: not Comment text) and you will see that it then confirms how you have your text set up (blue circle).

Click the Modify button … Now you can change your font and font size. You’ll notice lots of other options (blue circle) to change the spacing, etc.

I’m going to change the font size, font, orientation and colour of the comment box heading, and the size of the text:

Note: As we will see, the changes in colour, font and italics etc. only apply themselves to the heading of the comment text, where it says “Comment: L1”. Why? Because it’s Word, and we are changing, very specifically, information about the Comment Balloon itself. See below for how to change the text in the comment balloon. EXCEPT, and here we may tear our hair out a little, this IS where we change the text size in the comment box .

Note, however, (blue arrow) that this does not change the size of the text itself – that is controlled from Balloon Text, and you’re just going to have to remember that, or look at the Recap I’ve written at the bottom!

At this point in either menu option, you can also click on the Format button and change all sorts of aspects:

Now, you probably won’t want to go to this level of fancy detail with the comments balloons, but, of course, this dialogue box is not only for changing the style of comment balloons: it’s also where you set up all of the styles in your document if you want to change and customise them.

You can also choose whether this change applies only to this document, or to all documents based on this template, and add it to your Quick Styles list if you want:

Press the OK button, and carry on pressing OK buttons until you get back to your document. Now, your comment will appear in the style you have chosen. If you’ve only chosen to amend the Comment Balloon text size, only the header will have changed:

If you’ve chosen to customise the Comment Text as well, you will have made all of these changes:

Now your comment boxes have large, easy-to-read text in a useful colour. and a very fancy heading. We’ve customised your comment boxes or, as you now know to call them, your comment balloons, and the comment text

A quick recap

  • To change where the balloons appear, and their size, use the Track Changes Options section in the Review tab
  • To change the size and orientation of the comment balloon header text, and/or the size of all of the text, use the Comment Balloon option in the Manage Styles list
  • To change the colour and font of the comment balloon text, and/or the size of all of the text in the balloon, use the Comment Text option in the Manage Styles list

Why not take a look at these related topics, which should help you further?

What to do if your comment boxes go tiny in Word

What to do if your comment boxes start running from right to left

Changing the language in your comment balloons

Customising Track Changes

This is part of my series on how to avoid time-consuming “short cuts” and use Word in the right way to maximise your time and improve the look of your documents. Find all the short cuts here

Do let me know if this has helped you, saved your bacon, etc. – and do share with the buttons at the bottom of this article.

 
101 Comments

Posted by on October 19, 2012 in Copyediting, New skills, Students, Word, Writing

 

Tags: , , , ,

101 responses to “Customising comment boxes in Word

  1. Patti Bower

    October 19, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    So, so helpful! I had this problem just yesterday–the comments and deleted text were all styled as gray text, which made them difficult to read. Now I can change them to black before I send the files to the author. Thank you!

    Like

     
    • Liz at Libro

      October 19, 2012 at 2:08 pm

      Thanks, Patti, I’m so glad I could help. However, do watch for Word’s nasty habit of not carrying customisations across to the next user! I have found that changes to commnent boxes, because they are changes to an actual STYLE, do tend to work, but I have also found that if a document wants to be awkward, it will carry on being so. So you might want to document what changes you made, or point your author here, just in case it continues to play up!

      Like

       
    • JMolesworth

      August 3, 2015 at 7:30 pm

      It’s 2015 and your post is still helping Word-mongers around the globe. This one’s from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Thanks!

      Like

       
  2. Mary Moss

    October 19, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Thank you Liz for that helpful lesson.

    Like

     
    • Liz at Libro

      October 19, 2012 at 5:18 pm

      Ooh, a friend from another place entirely! Thank you for posting this comment and I’m glad it’s helpful!

      Like

       
  3. Brad

    August 21, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Hello Liz,
    Is there a way to change the Default Balloon Text font size on a computer? I would like to see if a setting can be changed (ie default), so that when a user receives a document with tiny comments, the font size will automatically be changed to the default (ie a readable font size).
    Thank you, Brad

    Like

     
    • Liz at Libro

      August 21, 2013 at 1:48 pm

      Hello Brad and thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, all of the options in track changes and comment balloons are peculiar to the computer upon which the document is being viewed. There is no way that I or any of my editor pals have found to make a default apply particular settings to a document so that it will stay the same when viewed on another computer. You can try this yourself by changing the settings then opening it on a laptop or other computer – it defaults to that particular computer’s settings. Sorry! I tend to send a link to my posts on customising comment boxes along with the document if I know someone has had trouble before!

      Like

       
  4. Rebecca

    August 26, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    I was working on a document in which the text was running right to left in the comment boxes. In the process of trying to figure out how to change that–before I found your site–I changed something that is now causing the reviewing pane to open twice, once in the left column and then again across my document, so now my whole document is covered. The second pane also seems to set at the bottom of the document, but when I scroll a little, it disappears. Has anyone got a solution to change this back to the default setting? Thanks.

    Like

     
    • Liz at Libro

      August 26, 2013 at 9:38 pm

      Have you looked at the track changes options and unticked all viewing panes options that you don’t want? It does sound as though the document might have got corrupted, in which case you might want to copy and paste into a new document, although you will then have to do a compare to retrieve your tracked changes. I hope that helps!

      Like

       
      • Rebecca

        August 27, 2013 at 6:59 pm

        Thanks, Liz, but the problem is not in the track changes options. Is there a way I can send you a screenshot?

        Like

         
  5. Nicola Gardner

    February 18, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Hi Liz
    All I need to know is how to change the initial on the comment box – my initials aren’t coming up!
    Thanks
    Nicola

    Like

     
  6. Prakash Shakya

    May 1, 2014 at 4:05 am

    Hi Liz
    How can I make disappear the box showing “usere date/time deleted or inserted” when i put the cursor over edited text (track changes)?
    Thanks
    Prakash

    Like

     
    • Liz at Libro

      May 1, 2014 at 8:30 am

      Thank you for your question. If you’re in Word 2010 or 2013, go to File – Options – Display and untick “Show document tooltips on hover”. If you’re using Word 2007, click the round button at top left, choose Word Options at the very bottom of the dialogue box, then as above – Display and untick “Show document tooptips on hover”. This should be clear, but I will write up a post with screenshots later this month.

      Like

       
      • Prakash Shakya

        May 1, 2014 at 9:18 am

        Thanks Liz for the info. It worked well.

        Like

         
  7. Heather

    May 7, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    This was SO helpful!!! Thank you so much!!! 🙂

    Like

     
  8. Arlene

    June 14, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    This was VERY helpful. The most helpful thing was the graphics. Thank you!

    Like

     
    • Liz at Libro

      June 14, 2014 at 8:14 pm

      You’re welcome – thanks for taking the time to comment!

      Like

       
  9. mmpeterson11

    June 17, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    I often need to collect comments from multiple reviewers on multiple teams, then send to a writer. Is there a way that word can combine multiple comments to attribute them to one reviewer (such that each person on Team A’s comments are listed as from “Team A” in the final version I send?) Thanks!

    Like

     
    • Liz at Libro

      June 18, 2014 at 9:59 am

      Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, you can’t combine comments from different reviewers under one name. Even if they all adjusted their names on their individual computers to read “Team A”, Word would ‘helpfully’ put them in different colours for you. You can combine tracked changes, however, using this slightly clunky workaround:
      Accept all changes
      Save document
      Open changed document and original document using the “Compare” feature
      Produce a new document with all tracked changes showing. This will display the name / initials of the person whose computer it’s done on, but if you change your name and initials to Team A first, these will show on the changes

      I hope this helps!

      Like

       
      • mmpeterson11

        June 18, 2014 at 1:21 pm

        Thank you! unfortunate about the balloons, but the workaround for track changes may help. Thanks again!

        Like

         
        • Liz at Libro

          June 18, 2014 at 1:26 pm

          You’re welcome – glad I could at least partly help!

          Like

           
  10. Stacey M

    September 23, 2014 at 1:22 am

    Hi Liz,

    I cannot see the names of the editors in the bubbles, only when I hover over the changes in the paragraph. How can I change it to where I can see them?

    Like

     
  11. Mike R

    September 24, 2014 at 9:34 am

    Hi. Thanks for this post which was really clear and has helped. One extra question though: is there a way to change or delete the default where every comment starts with “Comment [initials]”? I really don’t need every comment to be labelled ‘comment’, or numbered, and even if I want a label, sometimes a different one might be useful.

    Like

     
    • Mike R

      September 24, 2014 at 10:02 am

      Sorry – should have said: I’m using Word 2010

      Like

       
    • Liz at Libro

      September 24, 2014 at 10:16 am

      Thanks for your comment, Mike. As far as I know, you can’t remove the word “comment” from the comment. But you can change what appears where the initials appear by default: have a look at this article for how to change the initials: https://libroediting.com/2013/11/13/how-do-i-change-my-initials-in-word-2007-2010-and-2013/

      Like

       
      • Mike R

        September 24, 2014 at 10:31 am

        I knew how to change initials – maybe by reading your page before! Shame about not being able to get rid of the “comment” – oh well…. Thanks for the quick reply. Much appreciated.

        Like

         
        • Liz at Libro

          September 24, 2014 at 10:53 am

          Yes, people don’t realise you can change the initials to anything you want to! Glad to have helped partly, anyway!

          Like

           
  12. Louann Pope

    November 26, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Liz, I was directed to this post by Katharine O’Moore-Klopf in hopes that it would fix my issue. Unfortunately, it hasn’t.
    In most documents, my MS Word comment bubble text shows up single-spaced (I believe this is the default and certainly my preference). However, I’ve recently begun work for a new client and whenever I insert a comment in one of their documents it shows up as double-spaced. Does anyone know how to change the line spacing for comment text? I’ve done a Google search and all I can find are references to the “Comment Text” style—unfortunately, that style says single-spaced so it must not be the problem.
    I have MS Word 365 (which is basically Word 2013), but I have a feeling this issue would occur with earlier versions too.
    Do you have any suggestions? Any help would be appreciated.

    Louann

    Like

     
    • Liz Dexter

      November 26, 2014 at 5:33 pm

      Thanks for your question, Louann. Have you tried Balloon Text and looking at the spacing there? In all styles, you can access the line spacing by clicking on Modify, then Format, then Paragraph, in which case you find the line spacing and Space Before and Space After options (for some bizarre reason, you can change the Before and After spacing using the buttons with green arrows on them on the first Modify screen, but you have to go into Format – Paragraph to get the line spacing option). I hope that helps – let me know if not!

      Like

       
  13. Louann Pope

    November 26, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    Ahh, I found the answer to my question (see above) at http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=235700!
    I added Japanese as an editing language (but didn’t install the corresponding proofing tools which would cost $ and isn’t necessary). Now, I just have to right-click on any comments that show up as double-spaced and uncheck the box next to “snap to grid when document grid is defined.” Once that one comment balloon is showing up single-spaced (the default and my preference), I can highlight it, right-click on the Comment Text style, and choose “update comment text to match selection.” That fixes all of the comment balloons in the document!

    Like

     
    • Liz Dexter

      November 26, 2014 at 5:34 pm

      Goodness me, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that solution before, so thank you for sharing in case someone else has the issue!

      Like

       
      • Michael Eyestone

        April 18, 2016 at 7:03 pm

        Genius! In Word 2010, enable Japanese in File/Options/Language/Choose Editing languages; re-start all Office programs; uncheck “Snap to grid…” on the “Comment Text” style definition, and… viola! Single-spaced comments!!

        Yay!!

        Like

         
  14. Ruth W.

    February 4, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    Liz- I am working with Word 2013. Ever since I’ve been working with that version, I can no longer see numbers in my comment boxes. So when someone I’m working with on the phone says “I’m on comment 23,” I don’t know what they are talking about. I didn’t see that addressed here but I may have missed it. Thanks!

    Like

     
    • Liz Dexter

      February 8, 2015 at 10:20 am

      Thanks Ruth, that does sound strange. Have you tried the instructions in my post about your initials appearing and disappearing, if your initials are not in the boxes either? https://libroediting.com/2013/10/23/help-my-word-comment-box-initials-keep-changing/

      Like

       
      • Sandra Lammas

        November 12, 2015 at 9:39 pm

        Hi Liz. I am having the same issue as Ruth W where the comments are no longer numbered? I tried the link you gave and it’s no ticked, so I’m at a lose?
        Thanks
        Sandra

        Like

         
        • John A

          April 28, 2016 at 1:21 pm

          Hi Liz, Thank you for all your helpful information. I too am having this problem in Word 2013 where the comment bubbles are no longer numbered. It makes it very difficult to follow when folks on conference calls jump around a document. Any information you could provide on this would be greatly appreciated. Cheers

          Like

           
          • Liz Dexter

            April 28, 2016 at 1:53 pm

            I’ve found the answer – you can apply a style to your comments text to allow any kind of numbering. Here’s the quick way but I’ll blog about this some time, too:

            Click inside a comment balloon.
            Press Ctrl+Shift+S to display the Apply Styles pane.
            Check the style name is “Comment Text”.
            Click Modify.
            Choose Format, look at the drop down, click Numbering, select a numbering scheme.
            OK, choose if you want Word to do this from now on.
            OK

            Like

             
            • Anna

              April 30, 2016 at 10:43 pm

              Liz, thank you for this suggestion. I tried it just now and ran into the following problem: only one or two comments get numbered, and not all. Or,when I retried, comments got numbered but not consecutively – they probably numbered themselves according to the time I made them. Then I retried, and again only the current comment got numbered, while the rest remained unnumbered. I am at a loss.

              Like

               
              • Liz Dexter

                May 1, 2016 at 7:28 am

                Interesting. I have to admit I haven’t tried this myself yet. I wonder if it only works properly if you set it up before you start rather than trying to apply it retrospectively. How annoying of Microsoft to do this!

                Like

                 
  15. Karl T

    March 3, 2015 at 11:59 am

    Hi. Is it possible to add a new field in the comment box whenever i make a new comment. So that the comment box by default will look like: Comment [Name]: [Level]: [Severity]:
    and the user would only fill comment against the name field and 1/2/3 against Level and Major/Minor against Severity field.

    Like

     
    • Liz Dexter

      March 3, 2015 at 12:00 pm

      Thanks for your question, Karl. That is not a feature that comes with Word as standard, I’m afraid.

      Like

       
  16. Lyn

    March 22, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    I am part way through my dissertation – and want to include a document with comment boxes in my appendix – when I copy it into the appendix – all the other pages of the appendix have the review pane – is there a way of restricting the review pane to just that one doc?

    Like

     
    • Liz Dexter

      March 23, 2015 at 10:45 am

      I assume you want to include the document with comment boxes as an example or either the use of comment boxes or commenting in general. Remember that actually seeing comment boxes depends on who is doing the reading and what is set on their computer. So if you need these to be visible to all readers and printable, the bets thing to do is to bring up the page on your screen, do a screenshot, past that into a Word document and insert that as, if you like, an image of the page rather than the page itself, into your document at the relevant point. I hope that helps!

      Like

       
  17. Manisha M.

    March 23, 2015 at 10:41 am

    Thanks a lot for this post. This really saved my day!!!

    Like

     
  18. Deb

    April 6, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    EXCELLENT! One quick question… how do I change the color of the comments box itself? Every time I open the file, the box is a different color. 🙂

    Like

     
    • Liz Dexter

      April 10, 2015 at 7:24 pm

      You can change the colour of the tracked changes using Track Changes options (click on the down arrow in the corner of the track changes button if you can’t see the option). Hope that helps!

      Like

       
  19. Eugenia

    May 17, 2015 at 11:54 pm

    Thank you, Liz, this series is very useful. Is there a way of preventing the “Comment” label to appear at all? I’m refereeing an article for a journal overseas and the fact that the label is in English might give away my identity. Any help will be much appreciated.

    Like

     
    • Liz Dexter

      May 18, 2015 at 11:29 am

      Thanks for your question, Eugenia. I’m afraid you can’t change the word “comment” appearing in the comments boxes. However, I wouldn’t worry about it being in English. I did a quick and non-statistically significant poll of some of my overseas clients, and under half of them use their country’s version of MS Office, so over half of them will have Comment in English in their comments boxes. So I don’t think you need to worry too much about that identifying you. I hope that helps!

      Like

       
  20. Jackie

    May 27, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    Hi Liz,

    Is there a way to change the actual word in the document so that it doesn’t match the bubble color as the comment bubble? I would prefer if the word in the document that is attached to the bubble is only underlined. I don’t want it to be highlighted pink like my comment bubble. Thank you in advance! This page has been so helpful!

    Like

     
    • Liz Dexter

      May 29, 2015 at 6:22 am

      Hi Jackie, thanks for your question. You can’t stop it highlighting the text in that way, although you can change the colour it uses in Track Changes / Track Changes options (see my Customising Track Changes article for more info https://libroediting.com/2012/10/03/track-changes-2/ ). That will help if it personally annoys you. However, how you set your Track Changes up will not affect what your client / the author sees, as Track Changes is individual to your computer rather than universal. I hope this helps in some way, and glad you’ve found the article useful!

      Like

       
  21. Toni

    June 23, 2015 at 12:06 am

    Everytime I CTRL F, the navigation pane on the left pops up, and also a “comments from” pane pops up at the bottom of the page. How can I turn the “comments from” pane off? I have ballons on and can navigate through the document using these. The “comments from” pane does nothing but take up page space and is annoyting.

    Like

     
    • Liz Dexter

      June 23, 2015 at 9:47 am

      Thanks for your question. I’m trying to work out how this has happened, as I can’t replicate it. Which version of Word are you using, and for PC or Mac or on a mobile device?

      Like

       
  22. ARW

    June 29, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    Hi Liz, I’m using Word 2003. Your post and the additional comments from other 2003 users were both very helpful in fixing the “small comment/balloon font size” problem I just came across. Is there a way in Word 2003 to globally accept just Format changes that appear in Track Changes, so that just those balloons disappear from the right margin? Thanks.

    Like

     
    • Liz Dexter

      June 30, 2015 at 5:41 am

      Hello there, I’m afraid with the comments balloons, you can only delete them individually as you accept each change. However, you can set track changes to not have formatting changes in balloons, and then accept all changes, if that helps.

      Like

       
  23. Anna Lovern

    July 29, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    Anna
    Good morning. I found your post interesting but have a different type of question. We use an application that creates an auto text from a line of text with strike through and underlining plus a comment box. This is loaded into a template so that our whole staff has access. The process worked perfectly in 2010, but we now have one machine with 2013. That machine deletes the comment boxes from the auto text entries if the operator adds an auto text to the template then saves the change. Any ideas?

    Like

     
    • Liz Dexter

      July 29, 2015 at 4:39 pm

      Hm, that sounds quite complicated. Is the application that you use a macro of some sort?

      Like

       
      • Anna Lovern

        July 29, 2015 at 7:59 pm

        We use a Visual Basic program that was written for us. I have also contacted the person who created it to see if he can offer any suggestions, but so far he hasn’t found anything. I suspect it is something to do with the way that Microsoft has “improved” the comment box function. It works perfectly in 2010.

        Like

         
        • Liz Dexter

          July 30, 2015 at 1:25 pm

          Thanks for the clarification – I think this is really beyond my experience or ability to comment, but you never know, someone might come along and give you a solution.

          Like

           
        • Lee Batchelor

          March 22, 2016 at 10:31 pm

          Anna, I used to have macro that bypassed the MS convoluted method that sometimes doesn’t work, by the way! Trouble is, I can’t find it 😦

          There is a lot of broken glass in Word 2010. I wish MS would sell us a program that works perfectly!! It’s a great tool for replacing the typewriter. If you’re a professional, you’re beat; and yet the whole world keeps buying MS garbage. I feel much better now :).

          Like

           
  24. Ken Weaver

    September 29, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    Hello, and thanks for this article. The difficulty I am trying to surmount is that I have a half dozen generic comment balloons I wish to include at the beginning of each poem I review. The poems of course each have their own particular and peculiar Word formatting. I just wish to insert my generic overall comment set above the title of the poem. I can’t seem to make the compare or combine functions work for me, using the workaround mentioned here in 2014. “Accept all changes; Save document; Open changed document and original document using the “Compare” feature; Produce a new document with all tracked changes showing.” I may next try to make a template with the comment balloons embedded, but fear that will also contradict the original poem formatting. Help!

    Like

     
    • Ken Weaver

      September 29, 2015 at 4:17 pm

      Goodness. I just found a simple answer to my own question. In Word 2010 DRAFT view, comments can be readily cut from one document and pasted into another. Thanks again for what you do.

      Like

       
      • Liz Dexter

        September 29, 2015 at 4:23 pm

        Oh, good, there you go! Thanks for sharing your solution and good luck with your complicated documents!

        Like

         
  25. cxw

    October 7, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    Reblogged this on I Fight for the Users and commented:
    Word comments are as frustrating as they are useful. I’ve used this post several times to wrestle them to the ground!

    Like

     
  26. Brady

    October 19, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    I’m having an issue where the date/time associated with the comments in my document changes. Rather than being the date/time I originally made the comment, it appears to sometimes update to the date/time I recently opened the document. It is not consistent though. I’ve looked through the settings and looked online, but haven’t found a cause or fix. Any suggestions?

    Like

     
    • Liz Dexter

      October 19, 2015 at 3:50 pm

      Is this in one particular document, or from document to document? There’s going to be something in the settings which changes this …

      In the Insert menu in Date and Time (along to the right) there’s an Update Automatically tickbox, and I wonder if that has an effect on the dates and times on the comments? It’s worth a try. Let me know.

      Like

       
  27. LS

    November 13, 2015 at 11:07 pm

    Thank you so much. The hot pink comments were making me crazy. (Or crazier. 🙂 ) Thank you for this solution!

    Like

     
  28. Marcia Smith

    February 27, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    How do you spellcheck the comments in balloons? I have tried spellchecking the entire document, but the comments in balloons are not reviewed….

    Like

     
    • Liz Dexter

      February 29, 2016 at 9:35 am

      That’s interesting, as my spellcheck automatically does that. Have a look in Word Options …

      Like

       
  29. KekPafrany

    March 1, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    I love you for this post!

    Like

     
  30. Sally Bruce

    April 5, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    This is very informative. Thanks. When I insert comments from a macro, I get an annoying “Comments from:” pane showing up on the bottom of the screen. Is there an easy ways to keep this from happening? It is unnecessary and annoying.

    Like

     
    • Liz Dexter

      April 5, 2016 at 6:23 pm

      If you want the comments at the side, use the Reviewing Pane menu in Review – Track Changes to move them. If you don’t want to see the comments, turn them off using the Track Changes and Show Markup options in the same place. Hope that helps!

      Like

       
  31. Karryl

    April 23, 2016 at 3:11 am

    Thank you! it was very helpful 🙂

    Like

     
  32. CVHmanchester

    July 3, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    Thank you. After many hours trying, this did the tricks

    Like

     
  33. CVHmanchester

    July 3, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    An additional request. I spend most of my day commenting on students’ Word documents, often on a small laptop. I want to reduce the width of the word 2013 window to the minimum. Which would mean showing the document only within the page margins. But the View>zoom>text width command leaves a narrow margin on the left and a full margin on the right, with the Markup Area to the right of that. And a change to the % size seems to reset all the settings.
    Is there any way to reduce the document view really to Text Width, while leaving the Markup area there? Screen space is too valuable to leave blank margins.
    Then is it possble to expand/contract the % view setting of the word window without altering the contents of the window? This will allow me to change the apparent font size without the window being reformatted.
    Thank you again

    Like

     
    • Liz Dexter

      July 5, 2016 at 6:41 am

      Thank you for your question. I usually play with the size of the window my Word document is in until the left margin is against the left edge of the window and the right shows my comments, etc. But changing the size using the percentage slider at the bottom of the window doesn’t change the layout or settings of my window, which makes me wonder if you’re in the correct view – are you using Print Layout to view your document? I hope that helps, someone might well come along with other suggestions, too. You can also change the size of your comment balloons which will affect the width of your markup area.

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  34. David K

    October 23, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Hi Liz, I’m a little late to this party but I wonder if you can help. I’m reviewing a document and adding text responses within existing comment balloons from other users; I’d like to differentiate my text from their using boldface, but the boldface attribute is quite often lost from one save to the next and I have to laboriously re-bold my responses. Is there a setting I can use to preserve comment text that is not all one attribute, or do I have to create a separate balloon for each response? Thanks in advance!

    Like

     
    • Liz Dexter

      October 23, 2016 at 1:01 pm

      Thank you for your question! What I do in this kind of situation is click on the comment I want to respond to and then click “New Comment” which will add a comment balloon directly under the first one. This will contain your comment only, with your initials at the start, making it clear who it’s from. This is the way that’s usually used, and will make sense to everyone reading the document as quickly and clearly as possible. I hope that helps!

      Like

       
  35. davidg2p

    February 9, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    This awesome article probably provides the most in-depth and most complete information about customizing Word comment boxes/bubbles on the entire web!

    I have one additional question: is there a way to remove the background color of the comment boxes/bubbles such that they look similarly to the “Deleted” comment bubbles in your screenshot:

    The reason for this is that we fax a lot of documents with comment bubbles, and the background color of the bubbles impair fax quality such that sometimes you can’t read the text in the comment bubbles anymore after the document has been faxed.

    Therefore it would be amazing if Word (2010 in our case) could be set up such that there is no background color in those comment balloons!

    Thank you very much already
    David

    Like

     
    • Liz Dexter

      February 10, 2017 at 8:51 am

      Hello David, thank you for your comment. I’ve done some poking around and some checking, and it looks like there is currently no way to change the background colour of the bubbles! Apparently, people have been feeding into updates that this is not great, so they may change for future editions of Word. It may be worth trying Word 2013 or 2016 as the comments look different in those and aren’t always coloured, but that’s all I can offer, sorry!

      Like

       
      • David

        February 20, 2017 at 8:09 pm

        Thank you Liz.

        I found that here is one (rather complicated) way to do it:

        First, you set the color for the comment boxes to “black” in the Word Comment Options. The lines and borders of the comment boxes/bubbles then become black, but the fill is still grey.

        Then you go to the advanced Word Layout options:
        https://goo.gl/DQzDTY

        -> Compatibility Options at the very bottom and set “print colors as black on noncolor printers”
        https://goo.gl/5X3qHq

        Then, interestingly, the grey fill is not printed black but white. However, this only works on printers that actually report themselves as noncolor, which some color printers don’t, even if you set them to greyscale.

        Like

         
        • Liz Dexter

          February 22, 2017 at 8:02 am

          Goodness me, that is complicated, but thank you for sharing!

          Like

           
  36. chaim

    February 13, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    i write my document in two coulmns is there a way to have the comments on the right column to the right margin and the left to the left

    Like

     
    • Liz Dexter

      February 13, 2017 at 2:31 pm

      Hm, I’ve never been able to make that work. Have you tried highlighting the first column and choosing for the comments to be on the left, then highlighting the second one and choosing right? I don’t think that will work, though. Also, do remember that whatever you set it up to do will be different from any other readers’ view, as it’s personal to our own computer, not the document.

      Like

       
      • chaim

        February 13, 2017 at 4:24 pm

        i tried but it doesnt work thank you for trying

        Liked by 1 person

         
        • Liz Dexter

          February 13, 2017 at 4:25 pm

          Thanks for reporting back and sorry that didn’t work. Sometimes if the lines linking the first column to the comments on the right are overlapping the second coloum and hiding the text, I edit the second column first, then the first one, so I can see all the text more easily.

          Like

           
  37. Narayan Bhandari

    February 22, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    I am working on Nepali text which is written in Devanagari script. I do not want to change the signals like ‘Highlighted’, ‘Formatted’, Comment and comment no. I only want to arrange a setting where I only want to write in Nepali fonts in the comments. I did try following the instructions on this page but ended up having everything changed and I had to revert it back to what it was like in the beginning. I would be very thankful if anyone understood my concern and tried to help. Thanks!
    NB: The keyboard layout for Nepali fonts is completely different to the English characters.

    Like

     
    • Liz Dexter

      February 23, 2017 at 7:40 am

      Thank you for your comment. Unfortunately, when you change the language in the comment boxes, it will change the whole thing, not the text. But I will leave this up in case someone has a solution. However, if you’re commenting in Nepali font, does it matter if Comment 1 etc. is also in that text, as presumably whoever is looking at the comments will be able to read that, too? I’m just curious.

      Like

       

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