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Comments in Text Boxes

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Comments in Text Boxes.

Text boxes are great for many things, but adding comments is not one of those things. Word won't allow you to add comments to text within a text box, as you can to regular text in your document.

If you absolutely must have comments in your text boxes, there are two possible solutions. The first is to work around it by just adding hidden text in the text box. You can make the hidden text visible or invisible, as the need arises. The second potential solution is to not use text boxes, but use frames.

Frames have been available in Word for longer than text boxes. They provide basically the same capabilities, but there are some differences. One of the differences is that you can add comments to text within frames. To convert a text box to a frame, follow these steps if you are using Word 2007:

  1. Make sure that the text box isn't located on a drawing canvas. Just drag the text box outside the boundaries of your drawing canvas. (You can then delete your drawing canvas, if it isn't serving any other purpose.)
  2. Right-click on the border of your text box. Word displays a Context menu.
  3. From the Context menu, choose the Format Text Box option. Word displays the Format Text Box dialog box.
  4. Make sure the Text Box tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Text Box tab of the Format Text Box dialog box.

  6. Click on the Convert to Frame button. Word informs you that by making the conversion, some of the text box's formatting may be lost.
  7. Click on OK.

You can now add comments to the text in the frame.

If you are using Word 2010, the above steps won't work. It appears that Microsoft has removed the capability to convert a text box into a frame. You can still add frames, but you can't convert. (To add frames you need to customize the Quick Access Toolbar or the ribbon to add the Insert Frame or Insert Frame Horizontal commands.) Why Microsoft removed this conversion capability is a mystery.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10193) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Comments in Text Boxes.

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Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

 

Comments for this tip:

awyatt    28 Jul 2013, 20:25
I don't use Shockwave on this site, Chris. Not sure why you would be seeing something that says I am.

-Allen
Chris Hawkins    28 Jul 2013, 14:36
I just wrote to you about IE crashing. It does it on Firefox as well. It's the shockwave plug in. I think you should get rid of it, I'm losing valuable content from you
Joachim    19 Jan 2012, 09:30
Great tutorial, too bad I am using Word 2010.
I was always a big "fan" of Microsoft.

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