Hiding Individual Comments

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated October 30, 2021)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


Karen is looking for a way to hide comments that have been resolved. She's a technical editor helping authors deal with client comments in a second iteration of a report. The authors would like to hide the comments they've marked as resolved so they can better see what comments (and therefore work) remain. They can't simply delete the resolved comments because they need to note their resolution as part of their QA process.

When discussing an answer to Karen's need, it is necessary to remember that as of this writing, Microsoft is in the middle of making changes to the commenting capabilities in Word. These changes currently affect only those using Microsoft 365. Microsoft refers to the changes using the tantalizing appellation "modern comments," whereas everyone else is using what they now call "classic comments."

Microsoft started rolling out the change early in 2021 to those using preview or beta versions of Microsoft 365, and as of today (almost a year later) it still hasn't been rolled out to the rest of the world. You can find out information about modern comments here:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/modern-comments-in-word-53d8b54e-5036-40f8-9a09-3271dea169ba

The modern comments feature is apparently already out for all users of Word for the web, as you can see on this page:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/using-modern-comments-in-word-edc6ae71-0a2d-49fe-8faa-986f1e48136a

If you visit this page (even if you don't use Word for the web), you'll see a comment at the top of the page that says "This feature is currently available in Word for the web for all users. In Word for Windows and MacOS, it's available in Beta Channel and rolling out to Current Channel (Preview) and Production."

What does all of this have to do with Karen's need? The simple answer is that modern comments allow a user to mark a comment thread as "resolved," which hides that thread, but doesn't delete it. This may very well fulfill the need that Karen is experiencing.

That being said, it is very possible (and probable) that Karen, her authors, and their clients are not all using the Beta Channel version of Microsoft 365 or Word for the web. Adoption of Microsoft 365 among the entire team may not even be feasible. So, in that case the team needs to work with classic comments and look for a solution that works with whatever versions of the program they are using.

Over the years, people have adapted different approaches to "hiding" or "marking" comments to note their resolution. For instance, you might select the text in a comment and color that text as a light gray to indicate it is resolved. It still shows up, but the muted color is a flag as to its status. Taking it a step further, you could also format the comment's text as hidden so that you can turn off its display easily. You can find information about how to do this using this tip:

https://wordribbon.tips.net/T008998

Another approach that may be helpful is if your team resolves all the comments made by a specific person on the team, you can hide the comments made by that person. This tip provides the basic information on how to accomplish this task:

https://wordribbon.tips.net/T011814

Finally, members of your team could adopt a third-party solution that may provide the flexibility you need in managing the comments. One such add-in is CommentManager from DocTools, which enhances what you can do with your comments:

https://wordaddins.com/products/comments-in-word/

Add-ins such as this are not free but, again, they may provide the flexibility you need in your document development process.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11886) 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. ...

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