Introducing Modern Comments in Microsoft Word

Published Apr 09 2021 12:02 PM 67.4K Views
Microsoft

Workplace collaboration is evolving—and so is Microsoft Word. Today, we're pleased to announce expanded availability of our new modern commenting experience across Word platforms

 

Modern comments sets the stage for a richer Word collaboration experience for you and your teams by enabling modern features such as @mention notifications and more. It aligns how comments work across Office on different endpoints, so that you and your team can rely on a consistent experience regardless of whether you’re using Word, Excel, or PowerPoint on any platform.

 

Modern comments was first introduced on the mobile and Web versions of Word where we iterated based on feedback.  Now it is rolling out to Production on Word for Windows and MacOS! 

 

 

Here's a look at what to expect:

 

Stay in control 

With modern comments, you no longer have to worry about your comments being seen by others before you’re finished editing them. After you draft a new comment or reply, click the Post button or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Enter (Windows) or Cmd + Enter (MacOS) to share your thoughts with others.   Now, a comment or reply can only be edited by the person who created it. 

 

Click the Post button to share your commentsClick the Post button to share your comments

Flexibility in how you view and interact with comments 

In Word you'll find comments to the right of your page, by default. In this view, contextual comments are side-by-side with the page content, to help you focus on the feedback that’s most relevant to the part of the document you’re working on.  

In the Comments pane, you can see a single list of all comments in your document, including resolved comments.  To switch between the contextual view and the Comments pane, simply click the Comments button in the upper right corner of your Word window. 

 

Switch between contextual view and the Comments paneSwitch between contextual view and the Comments pane

Resolve comment threads 

Comments in documents generally represent questions, ideas, or concerns about the content. When those have been addressed, comments allow you to mark that thread as resolved. Resolved comment threads won't appear in the contextual view (though you can still find them in the Comments pane) to help you stay focused on what’s active. 

 

Resolve comment threadsResolve comment threads

Improved @mentions in comments

Users have been adding names to comments for years. Now, if you’re an enterprise user working on cloud files, you can more easily use an @mention to call out to one or more of your colleagues in your organization or school.  Just highlight some text, click the Comment button, type your comment, and @mention anyone you want to see it.

 

When you post your comment, anybody that you've @mentioned in it will get an email notification. Whoever started the comment thread will also be notified. Notification emails let your collaborators know there’s been new activity in the comment thread, gives them a preview of the document content where the comment was made, as well as the comment you left. They can reply to your comment from the email, or they can click a link in the notification email to open the document and go straight to the comment if they want to see more context. 

 

Better collaboration practices for today's remote world

These new commenting experiences are ideal for today's remote teams who may be working together from across town or around the world.  Comments eliminate the need to coordinate schedules or conduct in-person discussions, providing greater flexibility and enabling collaborators to provide better insights.  A consistent experience across applications makes everything flow smoothly.

 

What we have heard 

 

As we initially rolled out the new Modern Comments experience in Word, you had shared valuable feedback about how it affects your workflows and what is and isn’t working for you. Your feedback enables us to improve the experience for all users.  

 

Here’s some of what we heard: 

  • Concern that comments created with modern comments are not backwards compatible – We want to ensure you are aware that any comment created with Modern comments can be consumed and interacted with by users on earlier or non-Microsoft 365 versions of Word and vice versa. 
  • Reduced efficiency in working with comments, particularly in posting or editing comments  
  • Not all formatting was supported in comments, such as font color 
  • Not all content was supported in comments, such as images 
  • Autocorrect was not supported, including custom autocorrect shortcuts used to save time 
  • Comments and tracked changes layout takes up screen real estate and pushes comments further from the page 
  • Grammar checking is not available in comments  
  • It is more challenging to see where comments are connected to, without the dotted lines 

 

What’s next?   

(Updated as of October 14, 2021) 

 

As previously noted in this post, we have been working on bringing a set of changes to the experience to address the feedback from this community. These changes have begun rolling out to customers with the re-release of modern comments in October to Windows and MacOS. 

  • Quick Edit:  we have made it easier to enter edit mode for a comment by showing the edit button in the comment.  
  • Ctrl+Enter  &  Cmd+Enter awareness:  these keyboard shortcuts are now visible in the comment to encourage their usage for posting a comment.
  • Comment anchor connection: we have adjusted the highlighting of text and content referenced by a comment to make it easier to see what a comment is referring to. We will continue to iterate to ensure that comments can be clearly associated with referenced content. 
  • Tracked Changes: Show Revisions Inline:  when you have a document with comments and track changes we have made it easier to learn about using “Show All Revisions inline” setting to show track changes on the canvas instead of between the comments (see the FAQ link below to try this out today).  
  • Image support: modern comments will now display existing images in comments without needing to open the Revisions pane to view (note: support to add new images to comments will come in a subsequent update).  
  • Font colors: modern comments will now display existing font formatting (note: support to edit font formatting will come in a subsequent update).  
  • Selection interaction improvements:  you can now expand and read another comment while a draft comment is in progress.  
  • AutoCorrect (currently only available in Insiders channel): basic AutoCorrect functionality is now supported with modern comments and you can now use custom or existing AutoCorrect shortcuts to complete your commenting workflows (see the FAQ link below for more details).

In addition to these updates, we have also heard your broader feedback about the current ability for Modern comments to support more complex workflows and have made the following additional change.  

  • Opt-out: we have added support for a new opt-out toggle in Word’s Options dialog. This will allow users to temporarily revert the comments experience to our legacy comments model while we continue to iterate on the new experience and listen to customer feedback (see the FAQ link below for more details).

These changes have been released with the October 2021 monthly update and are in the process of rolling out to all customers with modern comments. Some users will not have these changes available immediately until the roll out process is complete (for instance you might see modern comments are available but the Quick Edit button is not yet visible). 

 

We have additional updates planned beyond these as well, and we will let you know more in the future.  

 

What you can do 

 

We have outlined a set of FAQs that give guidance and tips on the most common questions we hear from customers, including workarounds available to you today.  Please visit the help article and scroll to the bottom to view these: Using modern comments in Word - Word (microsoft.com). 

 

Please continue to leave in-app feedback about the experience.  We actively review this feedback to prioritize improvements. 

 

If you don’t have Modern Comments yet but can’t wait to try it, join our Office Insider Program.

 

See our support page for more information: Using Modern Comments in Word.

434 Comments
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‎Oct 14 2021 11:43 AM
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