Editors and writers use Word’s comment feature to discuss changes to the manuscript. This prevents comments from getting printed in the final product because they were left in-line with the narrative. Even though you work with comments a lot, you might not know these productivity tips.
For all instructions below, you can access the functions by either:
- right-clicking in a comment to open the context menu (shown, left), or
- clicking an icon on the Review ribbon (right).
How to Reply to a Comment Using Word
To keep comments threaded—that is, to keep related comments linked—use the reply function.
Step 1: Click in a comment, either in a balloon or in the reviewing pane.
Step 2: Right click to open the context menu.
Step 3: Select “Reply To Comment.”
Step 4: Type the reply.
Actually, you can also reply to a comment two other ways:
- By placing the cursor in a comment, then keying the shortcut for a new comment, it will automatically be linked to the first comment.
Mac: cmd + opt + A
Win: alt + R + C
- That little bubble at the right edge of the comment? You can click that to reply, too (above image, left).
Note that a reply is nested beneath and to the right of its “parent” comment. Replies to replies are not nested even further. They all appear in order of when they were created, beneath the parent comment. That can make it hard to know which reply a commenter is replying to, so add details to your comments to make it clear what you’re responding to.
When Not to Reply
Some comments just need to be resolved. Either delete the comment or mark it resolved. Why resolve a comment instead of deleting it? Occasionally it’s wise to keep a record of why a change was made, or replies have been resolved but not the parent comment. When you don’t want to delete a comment (just yet), right-click on the comment and select “Resolve” instead. The comment will get greyed out as a visual cue.
Note that the Resolve function only works on docx files.
Options when Deleting Comments
Before a file goes to production, all comments and tracked changes will need to be cleared (accepted or rejected). It isn’t necessary to delete comments one at a time. The other options are:
- Delete them all at once. This would be a last step before sending a file off to production. On the Review ribbon, click the little arrow beside the Delete icon in the comments group (not the Reject icon in the Reviewing group). Select Reject all changes (shown above, right).
- Delete all comments in a single thread. Click in the parent comment then click delete.
- Delete all comments shown. This option lets you delete all comments by selected users, if you first tell Word to show only those users’ comments. That option is found in the tracking group of the Review ribbon, under:
– Windows: Show Markup > Specific People
– Mac: Markup Options > Reviewers (shown below).