Comments Only Visible When Hovering Over a Word or Phrase

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated June 17, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


In Excel Satish can add a comment to a cell that is only visible when the user hovers the mouse pointer over that cell. He wants to do the same sort of thing in Word, such that when he adds a comment to a selected word or phrase, the comment is only visible when the user hovers the mouse pointer over that word or phrase.

There is a "sort of" way to do this using notes (which Microsoft used to refer to as comments), but it may not yield exactly what you are looking for. Follow these steps:

  1. Display the Review tab of the ribbon.
  2. Click the Display for Review drop-down list (in the Tracking group) and choose All Markup.
  3. Click the small icon at the bottom-right of the Tracking group. Word displays the Track Changes Options dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Track Changes Options dialog box.

  5. Click the Balloons in All Markup View Show drop-down list and choose the Nothing option.
  6. Click OK to close the dialog box.

If you are still using Word 2007 or Word 2010, then the steps are slightly different:

  1. Display the Review tab of the ribbon.
  2. In the Tracking group, click the Track Changes drop-down list.
  3. Choose Change Tracking Options. Word displays the Track Changes Options dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  4. Figure 2. The Track Changes Options dialog box in Word 2010.

  5. In the Balloons section, click the Use Balloons drop-down list and choose Never.
  6. Click OK to close the dialog box.

Regardless of the version of Word you are using, you can continue to add notes/comments as you normally would. The contents of the comment won't appear until you hover the mouse over the word or phrase you marked with the comment. (You can tell which words or phrases have notes/comments because they are highlighted in a color keyed to the user who created the comment.)

You might also consider abandoning comments for this purpose and, instead, use the ScreenTip feature of Word.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7115) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

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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