by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 27, 2020)
Reynolds is a book editor, and she works with manuscripts in Word. She turns on Track Changes and does her work so that the author can see what was done. She needs a way to number comments that appear in comment balloons so that they can be referenced to the author and to others working on the project.
When entering comments they should be numbered by default. That is, they should be numbered as long as you have Word configured to add the initials of the commenter to each comment. For instance, if I insert comments, then they show up in the comment balloons with my intials (ALW) followed by numbers (1, 2, 3, etc.). (See Figure 1.)
Figure 1. Comments are automatically numbered in Word.
If your comments don't show up this way, it could be because you don't have Word configured properly. Follow these steps:
Figure 2. The general options of the Word Options dialog box.
One thing you need to be aware of is that as you insert comments, Word renumbers them so they are always sequential. In other words, if you have 17 comments in a document and you insert a new one after comment 5, then the current comment 5 (ALW5) becomes 6 (ALW6) and so on, so that you have 18 sequentially numbered comments in a document.
Another approach is to modify the style used to display the comment text. This text uses, appropriately enough, the built-in Comment Text style. You could easily modify this style so that it is automatically numbered. Follow these general steps:
Your existing comments (and any you add in the future) should now be numbered. This approach has the same problem as the earlier approach: the numbers are dynamic, they are not static. The only way to make the numbers non-dynamic is to type them manually and then not change them later.
Of course, you may simply want to rethink how you are referring to your comments. Word keeps track of who enters a comment (thus the initials) as well as the date and time at which a comment was entered. You can see the time for a comment by simply hovering the mouse pointer over the comment. If you referred to comments in this way (perhaps in conjunction with the number), then there could be no confusion on the part of the author as to which comment you reference.
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