How do I make my picture appear next to my comments in Word 2013 and 2016?

15 Jun

Here’s a problem: when I add comments to a Word document don’t show my picture by them although I’m signed in to my Microsoft account. This article explains how to make sure that your personal picture appears in your Word Comments (in Word 2013 and going forward to 2016 and beyond, for PC). If your picture has disappeared from your Word comments, it tells you how to get it back. If you don’t want to see your picture in Word comments, it tells you how to remove it.

I always try to be responsive to my commenters (see this post on comments for why!) and so I’m writing this post as a direct consequence of a comment I received on one of my articles about comment boxes in Word.

The basic problem is this: you can have your image appear next to your comments in Word. Because Word 2013 and beyond are designed largely to be used with an active subscription account with Microsoft, it can pull details from your Microsoft account through to the software to enhance your user experience.

Why would you want your image next to your comments?

I’m going to repeat the comment here (with many thanks to commenter and correspondent Lark Lands) so you can see what the problem is and why it’s important:

I have Word 2013 and from the time I first started using it when I click on the Review tab and insert a new comment it would appear showing my name and my Microsoft “account picture” plus the typed comment. Now the account picture has disappeared and all you see is that icon of a generic person. Because I’m a medical editor who is constantly working on files with comments from many different people the photo is actually useful because at a glance I can whiz through a 40-page document, just slowing down when I see the photo in order to see if people have responded to my comments.

So this comment writer uses the picture to scan down and find their own comments.

Please remember the golden rule of Track Changes and Comments here, however: how you choose to display your Word document comments and changes has no effect on what your client sees. So you can add your picture to your own view, but don’t expect this to carry through to your client’s or collaborator’s view of the document.

Where is the picture in my comments in Word?

In Word 2013 or 2016, you might see a picture in your comments: it will appear in this position if you have it set up to show pictures:

Picture appearing in comment in Word

The arrow is pointing to the placeholder picture (if you’re not logged into your Microsoft account online) or your own picture (if you are logged in)

If you don’t have pictures enabled, your comments will look like this:

Comment in word with no picture attached

How do I add or remove my picture from Word 2013 comments?

The first thing you need to do here is to make sure that you’re logged in to your online Microsoft account. If you don’t do this, the “picture” that appears by your comment will just be a little placeholder symbol and your efforts will be wasted to an extent.

Now you need to make sure boxes are ticked (or unticked) in two places and then do one final but very important process.

1. Set up Track Changes options

First, set up your Track Changes options to show pictures.

In the Review tab, find the Track Changes area and click on the arrow in the bottom right corner:

track changes options to add pictures to comments

When you’ve clicked on the arrow, this dialogue box will appear: make sure that Pictures by Comments is either ticked or unticked, depending on whether you want to see the pictures or not:

add pictures by comments in word

Click OK and the first part of the process is done.

2. Check your Word Options are appropriate

Now you need to go into Word Options and make sure that your picture displays whether or not you are logged in to your Microsoft account (you should be logged in when you do this)

Go into Word Options using the File tab …

access word options to display picture in word comments

… and then choosing Options

access word options to display picture in word comments

The Word Options dialogue box will appear. Make sure that Always use these values regardless of sign in to Office is NOT ticked (even though this seems counter-intuitive):

access word options to display picture in word comments

Click on OK and process 2 is complete.

3. Restart your computer (do not ignore this one)

After an amount of correspondence on this topic, my original comment poster noted that they hadn’t fully restarted their computer. It’s not enough to restart Word – you need to restart Windows.

So, restart your computer and now your picture should appear or not appear as you wish.

This article has told you what to do if your picture does not appear next to your comments in Word 2013 or you want to add or remove your picture from Word comments.

Please do click the share buttons or comment if you’ve found this article interesting and/or useful.

Other relevant articles on this blog

Customising comment boxes in Word

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


Posted by on June 15, 2017 in Word


Tags: , ,

13 responses to “How do I make my picture appear next to my comments in Word 2013 and 2016?

  1. jena c. henry

    June 15, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    Wow! So cool- love this. Does this only work with Windows or can I do it on my Mac? Thanks


    • Liz Dexter

      June 15, 2017 at 1:42 pm

      Thank you for your comment. I’m afraid I only have a PC, so I don’t know if it works on a Mac. Maybe you could give it a go and then report back?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lark Lands

    June 16, 2017 at 10:17 am

    Liz—One thing here needs to be reversed. You actually want to make sure that “Always use these values regardless of sign in to Office” is NOT ticked. As it says in the link you originally sent me, and as I have determined while solving this problem, if it’s checked, then the photo does NOT appear. So you have to follow the first step you show here (checking “Pictures by Comments” and then remove the check mark next to “Always use these values regardless of sign in to Office”, and then restart Windows. And yet again Windows makes things as confusing and counter-intuitive as possible! 🙂 This is why we need people like you!! 🙂 Lark

    Liked by 1 person

    • Liz Dexter

      June 16, 2017 at 1:25 pm

      Oops – thanks for checking this over for me – have amended now!


  3. Don Massenzio

    June 16, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Reblogged this on Don Massenzio's Blog and commented:
    Here’s a great tip from the Libro Editing blog on how to make your picture appear next to your comments in Word.


  4. Deb

    October 27, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    Thank you so much! This worked perfect!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. David

    January 18, 2018 at 7:29 pm

    Would you, or anyone else, have any idea on how to alter the appearance of deletions in balloons in Word 2016?
    Since the upgrade, all deletions, when viewed on-screen, start with “SURNAME,Name Deleted: text deleted”, which takes up half or more of the first line. Quickly the deletions become totally illegible, unless I go to print preview, where the balloons have the old appearance (Word 2013), i.e. “Deleted: text deleted” without my user name. Also I’d love to have arrows back underneath the text, rather than a line above the text that displays the same whether there are one or multiple changes on that line.
    Many thanks for any suggestions.


    • Liz Dexter

      January 20, 2018 at 7:21 pm

      Hm, if you go in and change your surname to initials then that should help, or you could just change it to a space, then they shouldn’t appear. I’m not sure about the arrows, unfortunately: I’m assuming you’ve had a play around with the display options in Track Changes. Hopefully someone else might know on that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • dewilliams9

        January 31, 2018 at 2:29 pm

        Many thanks Liz. Ended up thinking along same lines. Unsure if work IT policy will allow me to change my name, or maybe it will but only upon restarting etc., but it’s on my To-Do list as a partial workaround to the problem.


        • Liz Dexter

          January 31, 2018 at 6:34 pm

          Good luck with that, and let me know if it works, if you end up being able to do it.


  6. martin permocille

    January 20, 2019 at 1:19 pm

    Good day, will this work in Office 2019? Did every steps here on your post but nothing happened.

    Martin P.


    • Liz Dexter

      January 20, 2019 at 1:24 pm

      Thank you for your question. When you say nothing happened, what exactly do you mean? You might need to pop through the link to the original writer of the guest post as I’m not the expert here …


  7. markcomp

    March 11, 2020 at 10:56 am

    perfect, many thanks.

    Liked by 1 person


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