Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 14, 2015)
Text boxes are great for many things, but adding comments is not one of them. 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:
Figure 1. The Text Box tab of the Format Text Box dialog box.
You can now add comments to the text in the frame.
If you are using Word 2010 or a later version of Word, the above steps won't work. 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, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Comments in Text Boxes.
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