Introducing Modern Comments in Microsoft Word

Published 04-09-2021 12:02 PM 16K 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 Current Channel (Preview) on Word for Mac!   

 

 

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.

 

We're continuing to iterate on Modern comments and other collaboration features in Office, and your feedback plays an invaluable role in the process.  If you have the new commenting experience in Word, let us know what you think and what you’d like to see next!  

 

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.

120 Comments
Frequent Visitor

Thank you for the brief outline of the updated comments function; it is good to see that Microsoft is persistently striving to improve the workflow. However, while most of this sounds sensible (particularly in a collaborative context) and there are some details that are especially appreciated (the separation of comments from tracked changes means you no longer need to cycle through all your comments when looking for redactions with the ‘next change’-button without having to make comments invisible from markup altogether as a workaround; the choice between contextual view and comments list is fantastic, as is the ability to now skip resolved comments), there are now new headaches – too many to list here.

 

Just the most infuriating and incomprehensible change is this one (on the Windows desktop app at least):

Why do comments in contextual view now float in a separate, additional lane? That the list view, i.e. a comments pane will take up dedicated space is only logical, but the principally preferred contextual view defies any rhyme or reason. That its comments freely float only masks the fact that they now effectively run in their own margin - next to and in addition of the regular markup margin (now nonsensically empty, vacated aside from the occasional tracked change of formatting, and yet you cannot disable it without going to simple markup view and also losing visibility of in-line additions/deletions). Basically, you no longer can work on a screen in vertical orientation, or use two windows of Word side by side (or zoom out to view two pages in a single window) without having to choose between comments OR all markup view...

Contributor

Thanks MS for making my super smooth workflow clunky and entirely p'ing me off! Insert autotext, autoreplace text, and spell check no longer actually work IN COMMENTS!!!! This means I cannot spellcheck comments I make, nor can I search in them, and it takes me three times as long to write them. I cannot begin to tell you how angry this has made! So instead of working I am yet again having to take time out to restore a previous version in order to remove this "feature"! But yes you've achieved your aim of making it look very pretty! Yet another case of eye candy winning over actual functionality! It really makes me wonder why I bother paying for your software instead of doing what half the planet does and using a cracked "copy"
LIVID :pouting_face:

Visitor

There's a sting in the tail at the moment, which is revealed on your support page, which says that "If you view a document in which a colleague has inserted a comment using the modern comments feature, you won't be able to see it in the older version."  That means that anyone who is not using modern comments, will not be able to see comments inserted by those who are.

I work on technical standards, where we have contributors and reviewers from many different companies, who will be using different versions of Office on MacOS and Windows, depending on their individual corporate policies.  This sounds like a recipe for disaster, where we will lose multiple comments.  Although I like what I've seen so far, I need a way to revert to classic comments if my colleagues who haven't yet got access to modern comments are going to be able to see what I'm doing.  So far I can't see how to do that.

I also echo MoMaier's comment that this wastes a lot of space, particularly if you're using a vertical orientation screen.

Contributor

@nickhunn Similar problem here. I work for a publishing house, and most of our authors use older versions of Word than we do, or open source packages. This will be an utter disaster!
The loss of autocomplete/replace means I have to have another doc open with parts to copy/paste over when needed. Not conducive to speedy work when you have lots of standard comments. I really don't want to transfer many more of those over to macros/keyboard shortcuts than I have done.
I do not understand the need for much change on this. Anyone wanting that sort of ''I need an answer now"' kind of reaction to a comment is surely already using a messaging app with colleagues, I know we do. But even if collaborating in real time, there are many of us collaborating on documents but at different times that do not need this approach. Couldn't there be a means of switching real-time collaboration off and maintaining the old system?
It wouldn't be so bad if it at least maintained proper functionality. Instead it appears to be "background listening'' whilst you type in a comment, as it says something like "comment in progress'' in the Reply part of other comments. It doesn't catch clicks well, I found I had to change cursor focus and click away first for it to recognise a click in order to edit. And of course you have to now click Edit rather than just clicking where you had previously typed. I discovered search works but also rather randomly. 
I have only been on a single screen today so I did not have the experience of multiple windows (usually I split between two screens). But I also dislike the fact comments take up so much space. I don't understand the idea behind the contextual view. The biggest problem I had with comments was their disappearing after comparing documents and accepting all changes.

I hope there is a revert feature in the future. If that is indeed a fact that comments won't be backward compatible, this really won't fly at all. 
I have to wonder whether coders at MS actually ever use these products extensively themselves. I note the big fanfare statement about a comment pane can now be seen on the right.

I have rolled back to March 18th successfully ... anything more recent just left comments as they were in "modern'' form.
Having given up on resisting the grey icon "progress"on toolbar appearance and updating last year, it looks like 5 months into my subscription, I am forced to turn updates off yet again until autotext/complete returns. Thankful I managed to revert successfully. I will note down how I did it because i'm sure I will eventually need to yet again and I always forget exactly how to.

New Contributor

When is the tasking feature known from the Web coming to Win32 apps? Is it coming at all? I can't wait for the announced integration between these comment-sourced tasks and To-Do, but to complete the circle, that would have to supported in rich Win32 clients. Any horizon for that?Zrzut ekranu 2021-04-13 205610.png

 

Frequent Visitor

@Susan Coward

I can second (or third?) the concern about compatibility issues between versions of Word, and not only in terms of backwards compatibility. Having the exact same Word version 2103 (build 13901.20336 click-and-run) on two different Windows 10 systems (Pro 1803 and Home 20H2), both of which are logged into the same personal 365 account, the new comments format had suddenly been forced upon me without warning or at least any explanation whatsoever on Friday on my work machine, while my tablet thankfully has somehow been ignored so far.

I do not know about collaborative communication; I have a different work case – I use comments for my own mental notes. Still, in my own documents I now have issues between both PCs. Contrary to what the support page Nick Hunn referred to states, I did not encounter missing comments yet – the modern comments I created for testing all appeared as ‘traditional’ comments on the other PC. However, I now have a bunch of old comments, which I no longer can edit on my work machine – I get an error warning stating that this app has difficulties displaying the content of this comment, and by continuing I risk corruption or entire loss of data.  

I can only assume this is about formatting – I regularly used comments to store additional citation information, expanded versions of quotes, etc., and the developers in their infinite wisdom have apparently decided that this is no longer what comments should be used for, but become a messenger tool. (How about a marginal notes tool, then? something that does not interfere with the text length or formatting like foot/endnotes do)

[Edit: I think I can confirm it must be formatting: created a traditional comment with a tab stop aand one character in superscript - both discarded after opening as modern comment and ignoring the warning]

 

Susan Coward is absolutely right in criticising this new lack of functionality inside the comments! While I did see some spellchecking (underlined typo), search seems wonky and you are severely limited in what you can do in comments now – formatting seems restricted to the bare minimum of bold/italics/highlight, and even in order to get there you need to jump through hoops because the right-click context menu is crippled.

On that note, editing comments is an absolute hassle now. While I can relate to the move from real-time editing to send-off-comments or locking comments of others (in testing earlier, the document became barely usable while also open in the second PC), this is not just a wrench thrown into the workflow but an entire toolbox’s worth. If you want to do something simple like highlighting for color coding in an existing comment, you need to click the ...-menu, click edit, click the text, then move the cursor to the ribbon bar and scroll over to the start ribbon (because you probably are on the review ribbon) since you no longer can use your right-click context menu, apply highlight, scroll back to the review ribbon, click send – and hope that nowhere along the line the UI has failed to register what it should focus on and scroll or click.

Like Susan, I sometimes suspect that new features are simply crammed in because somebody thought they are great for whatever specific scenario they had in mind or in order to ‘fix’ some previous user requests or complaints without thinking about global ramifications or what other use cases get derailed in the process. And all of this would be half as infuriating if introduced as a new OPTION, but no, time and time again arrogance reigns supreme, it seems.

I'm pretty sure that the resolved/unresolved comments thing was not an isolated user request/complaint (because there were multiple forums ranting about it and I know at least one person who sent a suggestion through the feedback tool...), and while I greatly appreciate the current improvement, I'd rather have the choice or better a toggle/filter instead of sombebody simply deciding what gets displayed in which view... why not give the comments pane a filter?

Frequent Visitor

How do I turn this format off and go back to the original format of viewing comments?

Visitor

OK, why on Earth would you "improve" comments by:

 

  1. Making it harder to see where the comment points within the text by eliminating the in-text highlights and dotted line connecting the text to the comment box; 
  2. Requiring the comment to be "posted" by either using an enter arrow or keystroke command rather than, say just typing it normally;
  3. Requiring the user to open a drop down to select "edit" just to be able to continue or revise the comment;
  4. Wreaking havoc when the document is used on different versions of Word; and
  5.  Eliminating spell and grammar check within the comment so people can see what a terrible speller I am?

Was there some compelling user movement to make inserting and utilizing comments more difficult so less people used the function, or was this simply a make-work project for a bunch of folks who needed to show there leaders they were busy?  No doubt that the task force who devised this "improved" version did not understand that requiring users to take extra steps to use the tool each time and making it harder for the reader to see where the comment points tool is not actually helpful.  Or perhaps the update team was full of folks who believe that the 17 people who believe writing documents in Adobe is somehow the "bomb" and Word was falling behind by not adopting the stylistic and functional ineptitude of such a program. For the love of God, please allow those people who actually use the tool to have the option to use the normal/usable version that has been with us without issue for the last decade, or at least a version where you don't have to hit three select buttons to insert a **bleep** comment.  I suddenly miss WordPerfect!     

 

Visitor

....see, I can't even use the right "their" or realize I spelled "to" as "tool" without grammar check...  

Frequent Visitor

There is a right-to-left text direction bug. When I edit comments in a right to left language, the default direction is left-to-right. Even when I use CTRL+SHIFT, it changes back to left-to-right when I post the comment.

When in comments, the paragraph direction is disabled in the Home ribbon. I have to edit comments several times until the right-to-left direction keeps. The fact that it keeps sometimes means that there is a bug in the system...

This is very bad when working on papers in right-to-left languages and becomes impossible when you want to add English abbreviations in the sentence.

Occasional Visitor

I'm with everyone here. I hate hate hate the new way they have the commenting, with the comments in their own "lane" of the screen. It's not nearly as easy to see the comments as you're viewing the text because you have to look farther away to get to the comments. Pain. In. The. Butt for sure.

Occasional Visitor

Nightmare. I second @ramccaskill and @Susan Coward... How can this "improvement" be improving anything when basically all shortcut key functionality, spell check, and other aspects have been stripped out without warning? This is infuriating beyond belief!

Nightmare...

Frequent Visitor

Another detail to add to the growing pile of things evidently not thought through: you can now pretty much forget about handwritten comments or annotations and basically throw away your fancy Surface Pen if you happen to work with a MICROSOFT Surface Pro (or any other tablet with stylus digitizer). Free hand inking now flies almost completely under the radar and you have to catch it “by sight” as you read along. Previously, it popped up along with tracked changes and regular comments when you cycled through the “next change” button. This is no longer the case (as with the now decoupled comments), but free hand also won’t show up under “next comment”, of course. Now, the only way or rather workaround to find free hand annotation is via the search function and skimming for graphical elements (which will of course not discriminate between those handwritten items and any other graphics like illustrations the document might already contain).

I already can see where this is going: in a year or so, this will be celebrated as solved when the “draw” ribbon will finally get a “next ink” button or something like that. Which is the most obvious solution as well as the ‘simplest’ one (simple as in idiotproof but lazy, inflexible, and scattershot).

Don’t get me wrong: I like that I am no longer forced to cycle through comments along with the tracked changes (since the only option to avoid this was to remove comments from markup altogether, after which “next change” no longer cycled through comments but unfortunately you also no longer could see them). However, there certainly are situations where I might want to cycle to the next alteration to the document, whatever its nature is, one by one. While the current implementation means I can cycle through those categories independently, it also means I do not see either changes or comments in context to each other or in linear sequence relative to the text as a whole... How about a simple toggle or filter what to include in cycling? Is that really so hard? In principle, this already WAS halfway implemented in the “show markup” menu/button. All MS needed to do was split comments into active and resolved comments, perhaps add a separate entry for free hand ink (visibility of ink has its very own on/off toggle tacked on somewhere else in the review ribbon), and make this menu a three-way toggle instead of binary (not just visibility on and off for each category, but add a third state: something like visible but locked/skip).

Regular Visitor

I just got this "added feature" today, and haven't had the pleasure of discovering all these "improvements" yet. I'm glad I stumbled upon this thread (thanks everyone!) so I can prepare myself for all the joy there is to come.  Most of my time spent with comments is with writing groups where we critique each other's pieces. Changing how comments appear (now in a side bar), where you have to "open" each comment box in the text before you see the relationship with the actual comment in the side bar, is time-consuming and unproductive.

 

So two questions for Microsoft:  

 

1) Why would you roll out this "upgrade" with little fanfare and without the option to continuing using the "Legacy" format?  I can see where the new formatting may be better over time, but forcing people to immediately switch is not great customer service, and is not at all "transparent to the user."  Can you provide us the option of using the Legacy format, at least for a period of time? 

 

2) The new format looks a lot like Google's, and Google allows collaboration among writers/editors without having to be part of Google's ecosystem. The Legacy formatting in Word is superior to Google's for sharing my own comments without others necessarily joining in. But if Word is going to be so similar to Google, why would I want to continue to use (and pay for) Word?

Contributor

@RichardSeals Follow the instructions here, https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/topic/how-to-revert-to-an-earlier-version-of-office-2bd5c457-a91...
They do work. I rolled back to 13801.20360 and have turned updates off. Weirdly, the comments dropdown menu took a while to go back to normal but eventually did.
@ramccaskill ROTFL Wordperfect! Indeed! Sometimes I even miss the days of Locoscript, total control back then at least. It's this interference without consent that masquerades as improvement that really gets me. Although no doubt the EULA permits that. If  MS made cars, we'd have gone to bed with a blue, left-hand drive and woken up to find it now pink and right-hand drive! Seriously, I am all for progress but MS seems consistently to be trying to make thing easier for simple users (fair enough) and harder for more proficient users who actually pay for their software (not on!).

@KarineJ Thanks for the L2R heads up, no surprise it would be so I guess, as all formatting control there has vanished. 
@MoMaier I stayed with it far too short a time to determine pen issues to be honest. 2019/20 I had mega pen issues (2-in-1 here) due to something wrong between Office updates and Windows, or whatever, much like most of the Surface users. That also caused me to revert to an earlier edition. I might be considered a dinosaur in that handwriting recognition works so well that I have not changed my workflow from writing to typing so pen use is critical to me. But I frequently sketch in comments.
It wouldn't be so bad if they rolled these things out when fully functioning but their own rollout notice states some functionality isn't ready yet. So why the heck remove a fully functioning feature, albeit lacking a few things, to 'update' it with another with even less functionality? Like 'upgrading' to a pink, right-hand car with only 3 wheels! 
 @CurtShannon Exactly that!!



Frequent Visitor

I shouldn't have to do this.  https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/topic/how-to-revert-to-an-earlier-version-of-office-2bd5c457-a91...

 

You should give the option to "show all revisions inline". This "new and updated" method is time consuming and not very user friendly.  When I look in options to customize the ribbon in the Word options, "Show All Revisions Inline" is listed under show markup but doesn't show up as an option under the balloons in the  ribbon.

 

Frequent Visitor

*There should be an option...."

Frequent Visitor

I would also very much like to be able to revert to the old comments. Mostly, I do not collaborate in the dynamic mode for which the modern comments were introduced. More often, I develop a text (say an agreement) with another person in an off-line or semi-on-line mode, when we share our comments on the developed text once in a day or two. Sometimes with one- or two-days breaks. In this mode I appreciated the possibility to have the history of developing the text preserved in the comments with functionality of commenting on comment, with the possibility to reply to comments, resolve comments etc.
Modern comments enforced by automatic 365 updates are therefore for me an unwelcome change and I would appreciate very much the possibility to stay with the traditional comments.

Visitor

A further annoyance is that with the exception of bold and italic we seem to have lost the ability to format the text in comments.  A number of our users have previously colour coded comments, but that is all lost in the modern comments.  

Occasional Visitor

I agree with negative comments above, and there is an urgent need for an ability to see either version. I have been working on a large document for weeks while planning to utilize the normal function of the comments. This change cost me a lot of time today in figuring out the "problems" I was having.  +1 vote to @RichardSeals

Occasional Visitor

As another voice to this thread, I thoroughly agree with the complaints mentioned above. The new "modern" comments system is a major downgrade and needs to have a "Use Classic Comments" setting in the Options menu. As a professional editor, losing the ability to see comments in line with the tracked changes, losing the ability to use complex formatting in the comments, and losing comment compatibility with my clients who use older versions of Microsoft Word are just a few of the setbacks this change has caused my business.

 

The forcible adoption of features that remove important (for us) functionality in exchange for useless functionality (for us) is not what we signed up for with Microsoft 365 subscriptions. Microsoft Word should be providing more tools, not removing functionality from existing ones.

Visitor

I too agree with all the complaints mentioned above. I'm facing a wasted morning as I now can't edit a file for a client who will almost certainly have compatibility issues. Not to mention that these "Modern" comments add to my workload: editing a comment now requires me to go to the More menu, then Edit, adding extra keystrokes; same w/ resolving the thread. Visually, there's now three panes instead of two, which takes up too much space on my small laptop. I can't increase the font size of my comments (this is an issue across MS products--we don't all have 18-year-old eyes). And, like millions of people, I don't need to "Start a conversation" while editing: all of that collaborative stuff is useless (and unwanted). Why would you roll this out without an easy way to switch to classic comments??! It's incredibly annoying. Instead, the onus is on the paying customer to waste more time tinkering with reverting back to a previous of Word, something that's a bit complicated for me, judging by the link above. PLEASE issue an upgrade that allows for classic balloon comments SOON. If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Visitor

I've done a little more editing with the modern comments, and I HATE them. You do realize that by screwing with this, you're screwing with my job, right? This is how I make my living, and these changes that I don't want and never asked for (yet am paying for) are significantly negatively impacting my work life. Everything is far less functional now. I can't see where I'm commenting, even in list mode, and contextual mode is useless. There's no ease or elegance anymore: everything is more work. This strikes me as benefiting occasional collaborative users while putting core users like me, a professional editor, at a significant disadvantage. (Why don't you beta-test with professional editors??) Why not keep the classic comments as the default and make the option be to switch to modern comments? That would more closely align with Word's core customers.

Contributor

@Editrix exactly that, very eloquently put. More clicks, more faffing, more time. They don't seem to realise we spend time perfecting our workflow to achieve max output with minimal clicks on a daily basis. 

Frequent Visitor

@Editrix at this point, I would not be surprised if things are not properly beta-tested at all anymore, let alone by specific user groups to check for different types of specialised work scenarios. It almost looks as if any fanciful idea is simply dumped into the “Insider” preview ring, and if it does not receive any protest loud enough, it gets forced upon everyone else in the next step. One might wonder what is up with those Insiders that something as destructive as this newest travesty does not get flagged, but I suspect that the insider program is populated mostly by curious tinkerers and not by professionals, for two reasons. Who in their right mind would voluntarily surrender their working systems they rely on (and often depend on for a living) to shenanigans like this that might utterly break productivity at any moment with the next random test? The irony is of course, as we just witness, that this inevitably happens regardless, just a couple of months later. And just to be clear: I do not mean any disrespect to the curious tinkerers whatsoever; my hat off to them, they of all people provide an indispensable service for MS and do so for free. What I am saying is that beta-testing is something that should not come for free (for MS, that is) and be entirely crowd/outsourced to those who are willing to sacrifice their systems, spare time, and nerves. Seriously, does MS expect professionals to setup a second isolated testing rig at home (so they do not contaminate their productive systems), where after work they then can continue to “simulate work” in order to do MS’s beta-testing work for them? For free? For a product that does not only cost substantial money but continues to do so even if it gets broken by the provider since its a stupid subscription?

Anyways, so I don’t just echo grievances and anger: I can only agree with Editrix’s point about the font size of the comments (visually impaired, myself). It’s not just that you cannot adjust the font size of comments except by zooming in and out of the entire now way to scattered and spread-out document sheet, but they jump around like crazy when one enters or leaves the field of view while zooming or moving. It also appears as if the renderer has issues. This might differ between individual systems depending on screen size and screen resolution, but evidently the comments now also occupy a different rendering layer than the rest of the document. And if I am at a zoom level that is outside of what Word judges is ideal, the font of the comments begins to become blurry (the rest of the document stays normally sharp), just like in the poor interpolation Windows occasionally applies to legacy software to compensate for high screen resolution.     

Visitor

I can't find anything positive (except it's pretty) about the new commenting, so I'll echo the previous comments. This is an awful, AWFUL implementation!

1) Now I can't apply any formatting to my comments

2) I NEED (not just want) the line between the comment and the text that I am commenting on.

3) Some of my team members will not be able to even see my comments, based on what I'm reading in previous posts. This is a HUGE PROBLEM!

4) I know it's only one click, but you really want me to click "Edit" to edit my own comment???

For the sake of my sanity and usability of this application, get rid of this new crap.

Visitor

This is an amendment to my previous comments. I use Foxit reader and when I made a pdf of a doc with comments, the old-style bubbles are presented in the pdf. At least I have a workaround for delivering my comments to users of older versions, albeit a crappy workaround. Even when others get the "improved" version pushed to them, the above-mentioned disadvantages make the new commenting style a very poor option.

Visitor

A few more observations from my "beta testing": I had to edit a chapter of a memoir after I posted yesterday, and ended up tired and headachy--literally, not metaphorically--because, to quote from RXOptical.com, "100% contrast (white on a black background) can be harder to read and cause more eye strain. It can be harder to read long chunks of text with a light-on-dark theme." This is just common sense, and why, outside of heavy metal bands, 99% of webpages are on white backgrounds. I also missed a few of the comments made by the author bc they blended into my comments (something that never happened with the classic version)--I think this is bc the eye is fooled by the black, rather than responding to the initials in the circles. If there were multiple reviewers, it would be a nightmare. I also kept forgetting to take the extra step to click the button to post, and would start on another comment, only to get kicked back up in the document to the words I last commented on--rather than going to the last comment I forgot to "post." Annoying as hell. It took a lot of extra time to have to click to edit my comments. And, as @Don_Pool said so well, I NEED those lines to see where I've commented. 

 

@Susan CowardI asked my computer guy about your reversion link, and he said he didn't think it would work. I tried rolling back to a previous restore point, but my laptop didn't populate as far back as I needed it to go, so no joy. Two questions: 1. Has anyone found another workaround (besides Susan's and Don's? 2. Does anyone from MS even read this, or are we just p*&ing into the wind here?? Desperate to find a way to resolve this :(

Occasional Visitor

I agree with the naysayers: these "new and improved" comments are a piece of sh_t.

 

Not only was I unable to spell-check them except in one file* (I was inserting comments and corrections into student papers) unless I did so manually, but, as I found out the hard way, a lot of them disappeared when I saved the file as a *.pdf -- why? When they're the default/ regular size (I guess), they're too small for me to read; when I enlarge them, as I had to in order to edit them manually, they must have gotten too big and been pushed off somewhere. As a result, I wasted time not only on editing these comments, but having to redo several files.

 

Another issue: for some reason, when I tried enlarging the comments, the margin or line separating them from the main text kept jumping, so I had no control over it. As well, sometimes, I'd want to edit a comment and open it to edit, and it would jump down half a screen or more.

'Which of you morons thought this would be a good idea? 

 

*Even in this one file where I was able to spell-check them, I was limited to the words suggested; if I wanted to correct something manually, there seemed to be no way to.

Contributor

@Editrix I can assure you the rollback method in the link works

word2.jpg

word1.jpg

but you have to do it through the setup and cmd.exe, don't try to do it through any other type of Windows restore function, that definitely won't work. 

Love how their buzz line is ''Stay in control"! Seems with the new format, the only control left is who gets to see, practically no control over the look of what they get to see.
I checked but MS seems to have shut down most user input routes. I guess they just aren't really interested in user experience. I sent feedback through Word itself but I have no idea whether they ever use those.

Interestinngly, Ctrl+V worked to paste images in here last time I posted, now it doesn't. Go figure!

 

 

 

 

Visitor

hating "modern comments" how to turn it off?

Frequent Visitor

As I wrote above for me were the Modern comments a serious obstacle in my way of productive cooperation at developing documents.

Interestingly, some other users of Word for MS 365 (13901.20366) in my organization were not automatically switched to Modern comments. Possibly MS are testing the acceptance of Modern comments by a randomly selected groups of users … (?) And we in this thread had only bad luck…

So I had to revert to an earlier version of Word by this procedure. It has worked fine but I had to attempt a couple of steps back until I found a version of Word with the traditional comments (13231.20110).

Frequent Visitor

@TonoS Yes, I'm in the same situation.  I'm the only one in my department that has the "modern" comments in Office 365.  I'm not sure how I was picked for this but I need it to go back to the inline, traditional comments.  It's wasted so much of my time and patience with this "modern" way.  IMO, it's a step backwards.

 

We shouldn't be forced to revert to an earlier version of Word to fix this.  Just give us the option to have our comments show up inline.  That's it. 

Occasional Visitor

Changes made to the Word Review Comments have not been helpful to my writing team for manuscript editing. They are overly complex for individual editors to make their comments to the writer. And I haven't found an option to over-ride the new system.

We don't make our comments on the same document so we don't need the Send option. And as others have noted, it doesn't allow spellcheck. For line-by-line editing that is baffling.

Because we have purchased the monthly Microsoft package we get changes without notice--in the middle of time sensitive projects. ARGH! Getting everyone up to speed takes more time than developers realize. I'm glad Microsoft listens to many of their customers but us little old writers don't need all the bells and whistles--even doing everything by internet rather than face to face.

I'm sure you're tired of complainers, but could you give us the option of not accepting your improvements?

Evie in Ingersoll

 

 

 

Frequent Visitor

This has made it far more difficult to work with comments in the way that editors (and the people who they interact with) normally do. Some things that we often need to do many times each day – adding, editing, deleting and replying to comments – now need more mouse movements and/or keystrokes. The changes to the screen layout are also causing problems.

 

Instant notifications are irrelevant to the way most editors work. We don’t want the authors etc. to see our comments until we’ve edited the whole document, as we might well need to revise them later in the edit.

 

This is serious – people’s livelihoods are at stake here. I’m worried about whether I can continue to earn a living as an editor who mostly uses Word, as my work has become far less efficient. Please, Microsoft – give us the option to revert to the old functionality ASAP.

 

To summarise the problems I've found so far:

 

Exiting from a comment

Some of us are used to hitting the Esc key or moving the cursor back to the main text after typing a comment. Now we need to use the ‘Post comment’ button – this will slow us down considerably, and we might forget to do it and (if we've hit Esc) lose the comment. Also, the cursor seems to disappear from view after you’ve posted a comment, which is disorienting.

 

Reduced editing functionality in comments

Some editors are used to using Autocorrect in comments, to expand short codes into notes or queries that they regularly need to write. Now, Autocorrect doesn’t work in comments. Also, we can no longer use bulleted or numbered lists in comments; this will often make it much harder to write clear notes and queries.

 

Spell-checker

The ‘Check spelling as you type’ function seems to be automatically activated in comments, whether we want it or not.

 

No right-click

We used to be able to bring up the menu for a comment (to delete it etc.) by right-clicking on it. This no longer works.

 

Appearance

Each comment takes up far too much space on the screen, with the grey area, the date/time, the ‘Reply’ box and the buttons at the bottom. Also, the text in the comments often looks blurred to me.

 

Screen layout with change tracking

If comments and change tracking are both showing, they appear in separate lanes, so the main text is squeezed into a much narrower area than before. This will often make things very difficult, especially with complex page layouts.

 

Split window

If you split the window, the comments disappear from view at first – you can only see little comment icons in the right margin. If you click on one of these, a single ‘Comments’ pane appears on the right, and it’s unclear which part of the document (i.e. above or below the split) the comments belong to. If you click on one of them, the lower half of the screen jumps to a different part of the document, close to the part that’s appearing in the top half. This makes the split window function practically unusable when comments are involved.

 

Annoyances and distractions

When you’ve created a new comment box, the text ‘Start a conversation’ appears in it. Imagine how annoying this will get if you do create dozens of comments day. Do we really need it?

Occasional Visitor

@Graham_H Thanks for this terrific summary — I concur completely. 

Frequent Visitor

Sorry, a correction to my last item:

 

When you’ve created a new comment box, the text ‘Start a conversation’ appears in it. Imagine how annoying this will get if you create dozens of comments each day. Do we really need it?

Occasional Visitor

@Graham_H @Susan Coward 
I agree with your comments too. In the publishing industry, this needless change makes the work of editors and authors much harder and slower. 

Occasional Visitor

Oh, lovely. Was there any real reason to...

  • Disable "Comments > Contextual" when using Web Layout view?
  • When using the command "NextChangeOrComment" (which I bind to Alt+N and Prev.. to Alt+P, for fast document change review?), no longer select the next Comment, no matter what document view mode or comment view mode I use?
  • Break the commands AcceptChange and RejectChange, which I've previously used to mark-as-resolved and delete comments, respectively? Now I can't even use the keyboard to select comments AT ALL, and the shortcuts I've bound to those commands don't seem to work even when keyboard focus is on a comment thread in the new, dedicated pane for them.
  • Reserve a big empty white lane of space for the ZERO formatting bubbles that are needed for the document I'm currently working on, while still putting comments in their own lane completely divorced from where I'm currently scrolled in the document?
    TiogshiLaj_0-1619644503992.png

     

  • You've added commands for DeleteAnnotation... and nothing else. No Select Annotation, no Next/Previous Annnotation, no Accept/Resolve Annotation... nothing. How am I supposed to even use these?
Occasional Visitor

Followup: even now that I've reverted to 16.0.13426.20322 (December 8th's version!), I still can't use contextual comment view, I still get the "new" comment experience that I wasn't yet foisted onto as of just last week, AND now I discover that once keyboard focus moves over to the comment pane? "SelectNextChange" doesn't work at all. Doesn't matter how many types I press Escape or Ctrl+Enter, I have to click with the mouse in the document pane in order to have the option of editing my document again.

 

Absolute s--t. Untested by any human being both competent and caring.

Occasional Visitor

Agreed with all, PLEASE give us an option to revert the comments format back - I just wasted 2 hours!! 

Occasional Visitor

This is horrible and ill-timed. How about some type of warning? Why change what's working unless the revision will at a minimum include the old features of Word. As someone who grades student papers online, the autotext and Quick Parts options were essential to my work. You have just increased my workload 300% by this great move. I now have to retype the same things over and over instead of using a Quick Part auto-text in my comments. Please show us how to go back to the Legacy version.

 

HORRIBLE IDEA!!! 

 

Frequent Visitor

This is the worst! Why have MS done this mess? Nothing works the same. People I work with - I am an editor and many of my clients do not use this version of word - are unable to see my comments? And let's not get me started on the look of this thing! Where is my neat, tidy comment box, white and very professional looking? How do I revert? Madness! I'm only just managing not to use a big bad word here. ARGH

Occasional Visitor

@Pamela-1 Do you work with publishers? Alert them to your experience if so. They'll ultimately suffer when they're billed for more editorial time and authors are harder to sign up because they've told one another how much they hate the editorial process. The publishing industry can lean on Microsoft in a way us minnows cannot.

Visitor

I agree with the above, the new functionality is dreadful. I even have a document where the little comments icons are superimposed to my table text and there is no way to move them. 

Also, when you have lots of comments in one page it is basically no longer possible to quickly identify to which word they are linked to. 

 

Word has just downgraded the comment functionality.

 

 

Occasional Visitor

While I want to adhere to "Be [ing] positive, kind, and courteous . . . Feel[ing] free to provide feedback, but keep it constructive," I will do my best with my feedback.  Working as a lone technical editor on long manuscripts and having to comment several times each page to update the author regarding APA format and such, this new feature is VERY cumbersome.  I cannot believe I have to "Ctrl enter" every time I want to complete a comment; I have to engage "edit" to make a change after I have entered a comment; That there are no leaders for the authors to direct them to the location of the issue for which there is a comment; AND that spell check no longer works within the comments.  This is a travesty, truly.  I do wonder if the end users are ever consulted when updating software.  Like, "so, if you had to depress "Ctrl + enter" after typing each comment, how would you like it?"  Or "Is it helpful for you to have your comments checked for spelling as well as your document?"  Or, "How would you like it if you could not tell where in the document the comment is directed?"  Or "If you had to engage "edit" every time you edited a comment, would this save you time?"  Sorry.  I am so not happy about this.  I have 210 pages to edit today, and to say the least, this is NOT going to save me time or save my client money.  I'd say to remove it for now and get feedback from small business owners or sole proprietors or "power users."  

Frequent Visitor

The changes to comments have removed functionality I rely on. I can no longer edit the color of the text, which is actually really important for making certain comments clear for certain team members. Why would you remove the formatting options and remove the ability to load the ones that remain from right click? 

 

It has made functionality harder to get to and takes longer to apply changes. I can no longer just right click to load highlighting. I have to go and select it from the top ribbon and then scroll across the page and use the highlighter paint feature.

 

I have despised the "edit" and "save" functionality ever since it was rolled out over in other places (365?). It takes longer to add or change a comment, and half the time I forget to click the send/save icon. I've lost comments because I start typing but it didn't register without clicking "edit."

I wish the "return" key would just create the comment/make updates like it has for the last 2 decades. 

 

And removing the in line reference is very very silly. How can you tell anymore which comment is referring to which piece of text? 

 

I also just discovered that clicking "resolve" makes the comments disappear and there is no way to click into them and find them again for reference. It would be a nice option to have them collapse/disappear, but I need to know how to find them again. 

Occasional Visitor

Back again.  Does anyone know how to delete a comment after it is "saved"?!?!  I am going to have to create some kind of legend for my authors so that I can stop using the comment feature, BUT, I cannot remove the comments that I have added this morning.  I have just WASTED (there are worse words to use) away 70 minutes of work, and I've not made a dime.  Most of it was reading this feedback, which obviously is not positive.  I have no ability to right-click to edit or delete my comments.  So, on top of creating a legend, I will have to explain why these bizarre comments remain in this client's document.  Oh, crap... just now, looking at the comments I added yesterday - before this nightmare - my client will not be able to understand THEM.  Yup.  We are in the middle of a perfect storm...    I guess I will have to insert my "comments" inside the text and hope my clients will understand there is nothing I can do in this regard until it is reversed or until I can toggle back to the previous version.  You guys really messed up this time.

Frequent Visitor

As an instructor, I have no wish or intention to "start a conversation" when I insert an in-text comment on a student paper.  The old comment functionality was elegant and easy to use.  This new commenting function is unnecessarily cumbersome and, in a word, crappy.  This seems to be a case of trying to fix a problem that didn't exist.  For those who collaborate with multiple individuals, the old comment structure worked just fine.  And for what I assume is the vast majority of Word users, the new comment structure is a miserable annoyance that adds a level of clunkiness and extra time to our work.  I recognize that comments such as mine will result in no improvement because Microsoft Word developers have jobs to protect.  But it makes me feel just a bit better to rail against the system.  Just remember how well "New Coke" was received in 1985.

Frequent Visitor

@SRyan1117 (if i'm following you correctly) if you click the three dots, "delete thread" or "delete comment." that is the only thing i've figured out in this new version. 

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‎Apr 09 2021 06:09 PM
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