Changing Text in a Comment

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 24, 2018)

Ricky has a document that includes many comments. He wants to change one word that recurs in those comments. For example, in the phrase "bring to Joe's attention" he may want to change it to "bring to Mary's attention." Ricky wonders if there is a way to do this type of find and replace and affect only the comments.

Actually, this sort of task is quite easy to do in Word, and there are a couple of ways you can approach it. Here is one way to do it:

  1. Place the insertion point within the first comment in your document. (This is important, so don't skip this step.)
  2. Press Ctrl+H. Word displays the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
  3. Fill out the settings in the dialog box as desired. (For instance, in the Find What box put the text "Joe" and in the Replace With box put the text "Mary".)
  4. Click Find Next. Word finds the first occurrence of the text you are looking for, within the comments.
  5. Click on Replace or Find Next, as appropriate, until you've made all the changes desired in the comments.
  6. Close the Find and Replace dialog box.

You can bypass the first step (the need to place the insertion point in the first comment) if you follow these alternative steps:

  1. Press Ctrl+H. Word displays the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
  2. Click the Find tab so that it is displayed.
  3. In the Find What box, enter the text you want to find, such as "Joe."
  4. Click the Find In drop-down list and choose Comments. (This drop-down list isn't available if you are working on the Replace tab instead of on the Find tab. Why? Who knows!) Word selects all the matches found in the comments.
  5. Click the Replace tab so that it is displayed.
  6. In the Replace With box, enter the text you want to use as your replacement, such as "Mary."
  7. Click the Replace All button. Word replaces all instances of the text you specified in step 3 with the text you specified in step 6, and does so only in the comments.
  8. Close the Find and Replace dialog box.

If you need to make these changes to a lot of documents—perhaps Joe has left the company and Mary is the new point person—then you may be interested in using a macro to make the changes. The following will do the trick for whatever document is active:

Sub MakeItMary()
    Dim c As Comment
    Dim sFind As String
    Dim sReplace As String

    sFind = "Joe"
    sReplace = "Mary"
    For Each c In ActiveDocument.Comments
        c.Range.Text = Replace(c.Range.Text, sFind, sReplace)
    Next
End Sub

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6200) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

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. ...

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