Displaying Document Comments

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated August 21, 2021)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


5

When you are adding a comment, Word allows you to enter the comment in the balloon area at the right side of the document. Most users, when they are through entering the comment text, hide the comments balloons so they will be able to see more of their document at once. (You hide the comment balloons by clicking the Show Comments tool on the Review tab of the ribbon.)

If you later want to view your comments, Word provides two ways that they can be displayed: either in the Reviewing Pane or in balloons to the right side of your document. The latter method (using balloons) is the default comment-viewing method; there's nothing you need to do to turn it on. If the balloons aren't displayed, however, you can display them by clicking the Show Comments tool on the Review tab of the ribbon. (Note that the Show Comments tool will be greyed out if All Markup is selected in the Tracking group.) You can change any of the comments by clicking within a balloon and making your changes. Then, click some other area of your document outside the balloon.

If you prefer to display the Reviewing Pane, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure the Review tab of the ribbon is displayed.
  2. In the Tracking group you see the Reviewing Pane tool. Click the down-arrow at the right of the tool. You should see two options displayed.
  3. Choose either Reviewing Pane Vertical or Reviewing Pane Horizontal, according to your desires. The Reviewing Pane should appear as indicated by your choice.

Make any changes to your comments in the Reviewing Pane, as desired. When you are done making changes, you can close the Reviewing Pane by again clicking on the Reviewing Pane tool.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6018) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Dictionaries for Microsoft Word

Word allows you to develop custom dictionaries or use custom dictionaries that have been developed by other people. ...

Discover More

Controlling Where a Full-page Border is Printed

When you add full-page borders to your document, you may be bothered to find out that one or more sides of the border ...

Discover More

Dissecting a String

VBA is a versatile programming language. It is especially good at working with string data. Here are the different VBA ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Deleting All Comments

Have comments in your document? Want to get rid of them all? The easiest way to do so is going to depend on the ...

Discover More

Formatting Comments

Need to change the appearance of the text in your comments? It's easy to do using techniques you are already familiar with.

Discover More

Viewing Comments

Adding comments to a document is a normal activity when writing and editing. Once comments have been added, you may ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 3 - 0?

2023-05-11 23:12:45

F Maas

So how do you get the comments to show in the revision pane rather than those stupid balloons that take up screen real estate? This is just another example of Microsoft breaking things just because they have to produce something new! Very frustrating.


2023-04-13 18:46:52

mcswell

After an hour of frustration (including trying to apply the techniques described above), I discovered that if you're in Draft mode, the only way you can see comments is in a pane variously called "Reviewing pane" (in the ribbon) and "Revisions" (in the pane itself).

I still prefer the way comments were displayed in earlier versions of Word (I'm using 365), but I guess some UX expert decided The New Way was Shinier and Better, not to mention Cleaner and best of all, New! (If you detect some sarcasm about UX, you're perceptive.)


2022-08-23 18:21:08

FA McKenney

I have MS Word 2021 with "Modern Comments" but prefer the way comments displayed in 2010. In 2010, the comments appeared on the page next to the text. In Modern Comments, they appear in balloons that are off the page so I cannot see them as I type but have to scroll to see them. I can decrease the size in the View tab, but then it is harder to read the font. (I am working on a laptop and am limited by its screen size). It also takes too many steps to enter or edit comments and I have no need to share the documents with other concurrent users. Is there any way to make comments in 2021 look like comments in 2010?
I thank you for any help you can provide!


2022-08-23 17:27:17

FA McKenney

I have MS Word 2021 but prefer the way comments displayed in 2010. In 2010, the comments appeared on the page next to the text. In 2021, they appear in balloons that are off the page so I cannot see them as I type but have to scroll to see them. I can decrease the size in the View tab, but then it is harder to read the font. (I am working on a laptop and am limited by its screen size). Is there any way to make comments in 2021 look like comments in 2010?
I thank you for any help you can provide!


2021-08-21 20:27:05

MW

"When you are done making changes, you can close the Reviewing Pane by again clicking on the Reviewing Pane tool."

BUT!!!! "Closing comments" doesn't make them go away, nor does it prevent the person you send your document to from showing and reading those comments on their system.

Which is OK if that is what you had planned.

But potentially dangerous if the comments were intended for your eyes only . . .

To prevent others from seeing them, under the Comments section you need to "Delete all Comments in Document."

To avoid the possible consequences, as a reminder I NEVER hide the comments on any document I am working on.


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Videos
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.