5. Adding Comments


Comments are a useful tool for communicating with other collaborators without changing the text within the document. Learn how to add, hide and remove comments in Word.

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Lesson Goal

Help collaborators by adding comments to the document.

Why use comments?

Comments are a useful tool for sharing insights with other collaborators. The advantage of comments is that they are separate from the main document, so they don’t interfere with the flow or layout of the document.

Inserting comments

Inserting comments is very simple. We just need to select the text we’d like to comment on, navigate to the Review tab and click the New Comment command.

This will add space to the right of the document for our document. We just need to type our text, no need to click OK or hit enter. The comment will show the name of the user who left it and the color of the comment outline will be unique to that user.

Viewing comments

There are a few ways to view comments. These are captured by the Markup settings, found in the Review tab. With the No Markup setting selected, all comments will be hidden.

If we change to Simple Markup, the comments will be replaced by small speech bubble icons. There are two ways of revealing the comments in these icons. To reveal one comment at a time, we can click a speech bubble icon. To reveal all comments, we can select the Show Comments command in the Review tab.

If we change to All Markup, all comments will be revealed.

Printing comments

We can choose to print comments if we wish. With the Simple Markup or All Markup settings selected, we can print the comments in the document.

If we change to No Markup, Word will not print any comments. Alternatively, if we wish to view the document with Simple or All Markup enabled, but avoid printing any comments we can do this. From the Print settings, we can click the Print All Pages dropdown and click the Print Markup option.


In the previous lessons we learned how to use proofing tools to quickly check errors in a document.

In this lesson we'll learn how to help collaborators by adding comments to the document.

If we look at the bottom of page three, we can see a footnote that provides extra information for readers of the document.

This is a great way of adding useful but non essential information to our document without interrupting the flow of the main text. Sometimes, we may want to add remarks intended for our collaborators, not the general audience of the document.

We can do this using comments.

These are useful for both authors and reviewers. As an author, we can draw attention to a specific item that we need help with.

As a reviewer, we can ask for further clarification, on a specific section of text.

Let's start by adding a comment that asks for a suggestion for one of the section headings.

We'll select the text and navigate to the Review tab on the ribbon.

Here we'll select the New Comment command.

Note that a new pin has appeared on the right hand side of the document.

This is called a Markup Pin and it keeps track of all comments and suggestions. This comment will automatically capture its writers name and its border will use a color unique to that collaborator.

We'll type a quick comment asking our collaborators, if they have any suggested alternatives.

We'll now jump forward in time to see that our collaborator has reviewed our document and left us a reply. The reviewer has said that they like the current section heading and that we should keep it. There's no need for any other action here so we'll click Resolve. This will gray out the comment and minimize it once we click outside it. The reviewer also left some of their own comments so we'll click the next comment command to jump to the following comment.

This one is asking us if we cited the correct author.

We'll click Reply and assure the reviewer that we used the correct citation.

It's good practice to resolve our own comments and reply to other people's comments. In this case, we know we didn't make a mistake but resolving the comment doesn't explicitly, let the reviewer know that. Instead, they can read our reply and resolve the comment if they're satisfied.

We'll jump forward in time again to see that the collaborator has resolved the comment, indicating that they were satisfied with our reply.

With all the comments resolved, we have a few options on how we'd like to proceed.

The first is to leave current view. This means any users opening this document will be able to see the markup pin and the resolved comments.

If we wish to remove the markup pin there are few options.

We'll start by examining the tracking group, in the review tab.

At the top of this group, we can see the markup drop down.

This allows us to select from different markup views.

When we set to All Markup, all comments are always visible.

We can choose a slightly more discreet option, called Simple Markup.

This initially seems to be the same as All Markup but there's a subtle difference. All Markup not only shows all comments but also all suggestions.

We'll cover suggestions in a later lesson.

Simple Markup doesn't show suggestions but it's currently showing comments.

Let's unselect the Show Comments command.

This replaces the comments with small speech bubble icons. If we click on one of these icons, we can see and interact with the comment.

Once we click outside the comment, it's hidden again.

We can also choose No Markup to hide everything, including the comment icons.

Note that the markup pin, can be included when we print a document.

To see this, let's change to All Markup again and then look at the print settings. We can see that the preview includes the markup pin.

To remove this from the print view, without changing the markup style, we can click the Print All Pages drop down and uncheck Print Markup.

Note that this isn't a permanent setting. If we cancel and bring up the print settings again, the markup pin has returned.

Finally, if we're satisfied that we've addressed all comments and they serve no more use, we can delete all the comments in the document.

To do this we'll click the Delete drop down, in the comments group and select Delete All Comments in this document.

Our comments may be resolved but it'll be useful to have them for reference so we'll undo this and switch to No Markup to hide them.

This automatically closes the markup pin as there's nothing left to show in it. Let's stop the lesson here. In the next lesson we'll learn how to share documents with colleagues so they can leave their own comments or provide suggestions.

Perfecting Your Document
Reviewing & Sharing


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