Can I remove Modern Comments and revert back?

New Contributor

My Word (on Microsoft 365) has updated to Modern Comments. I have a number of problems with the useability of these comments, based on the way I have used them in the past (for context, I am an educator and primarily use them when marking student assignments).


  • The main issue is that autotext is no longer supported in a comment. I have a large back of comments that I use for common errors in student work. Some of these comments are up to a paragraph, or contain URLs to instructions for certain things. It's incredibly helpful to be able to insert these quickly and will increase my marking time substantially if I can't use them.

  • Comments are slow to open. If I open a comment using a keyboard shortcut (on a Windows computer) and start typing, the first one or two letters often gets inserted into the main text

  • They don't use the same autocorrect tools as the main text. My typing has evolved to use those features. Two capital letters at the start of a comment don't get corrected, and simple typos don't get corrected

  • There are more steps to use them than before. I don't share my documents, so being able to edit comments and post when they're finalised is not particularly useful for me, as no one else is looking at them until I send the document. However, I can't click out of it to finish, I have to click or ctrl+Enter to post. I also can't just click INTO it to edit, I have to click on more buttons.

  • It doesn't make sense to only be allowed to edit one comment at a time, particularly if the idea is to not post them until you're ready to share with others. Sometimes in the course of writing one comment, I want to comment on something else first and then come back to the previous comment. You're forced to finish one first, to the standard you're happy for others to see, defeating the purpose of not having to post until it's finished. Why not allow multiple to be in draft?

  • If I forget to post and try to type a new comment, it pulls me back to my previous comment and starts typing, making me lose my spot where I wanted the next comment

  • It has added an extra space to the side of the document, which wouldn't be an issue except that making any formatting changes under tracked change, which I often also do when marking assignments, goes into the ORIGINAL pane where comments use to be, widening the document even further (extra space for formatting, then another extra space for comments). My computer screen isn't large enough to cope with the extra width.

  • Once I post a comment, it's still selected. There have been a number of times I've posted a comment then tried to ctrl+F something in the document, but it won't respond to my ctrl+F. Not something that is necessarily a huge issue but it is annoying and I can't see the purpose for keeping a comment selected when it's posted and non-responsive.

Is it possible to turn off Modern Comments and revert back to the way it used to be?

175 Replies
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.

@chiara369  I am also desperate to remove this modern comments box! So difficult to use, not clear what text the comments relates to, you can't format the text in the box... Urgh! Why mess with something that was fine! Anyway, if you find out how to revert it back, I would love to know!!

Yes, please allow us to revert this awful and regressive "update".  Everything said above is true and in addition, equations don't render properly in the new comments, it is no longer obvious what text is being referenced by a comment when it used to be easy to highlight a section of text and comment on that section specifically, and the inability to just click into and edit comments is unbelievably frustrating.  What is the purpose of this ridiculous extra annoyance of having to "post comments"....  Help!

I am also an educator and spend more of my time leaving margin comments than working in the main body of the text. Although I often collaborate with students and colleagues in the comments, none of the new "features" have actually proven useful.

Instead, my job has become way more difficult since the "modern" comments rollout. There are so many more steps to posting, editing, or deleting a comment now, and I LOATHE that I can't continue with my work if I have forgotten to officially post a comment. For the love of all things holy, Microsoft, please give us a way to turn this feature off.
Echoing what others have said. We do not want this. It makes Word far less functional. At the very least, let us put the comments in the wide margin where the tracked changes appear, not outside it in yet another column! I literally cannot see the comments on my (small) monitor; they are cut off on the right side.



I suspect that most experienced users of Word agree with your opinions. Some fellow Word MVPs have reported several shortcomings and limitations of the new "comment experience" to the Office team.


What you can do is post feedback via File > Feedback in Word.

I agree with all of this 100%. I am having the same issues. Another issue is that the modern comments is not allowing formatting like superscript and subscript which is making it much harder, well impossible, to instruct typesetters on changes that require such formatting


I fully agree with you..   This change is a disaster to me! This feature is not "modern" at all. 

Sounds like many of us are hoping for direction on how to revert back to the old comments functionality. Has anyone learned how this can be done?

Completely agree! "Modern" comments is HORRIBLE. It's like Microsoft looked at Google Docs and said, hey, why don't we make Word as terrible as that? Mission accomplished. PLEASE allow us to revert back.

@Adam_Campbell Actually I've noticed that the formatting remains in the reviewing pane (first image below) but doesn't show up in the comment (second image)






you are right, formatting and even inserted graphics are still retained in the hidden, and even can still be added to new comments in the reviewing pane, at least for now.
Apparently, those geniuses at MS figured simply referring to the reviewing pane to continue using previously simple functionality of comments is a perfectly sensible design soution, as you can read here:
Sure let's add yet another pane in addition to the nonsensical separation of margin and comments into two columns, and jump back and forth between them because you basically need the comments pane to navigate the reviewing pane. This mess is not convoluted enough yet and there's still too much space on the screen left for the aactul document. I'll gladly take that fancy new cinemascope ultrawide monitor if MS wants to gift me one!

Another issue is that, of course unless someone decides to open the reviewing pane on a whim, they'll never know what else is hidden in the comment...

At the moment, the only way seems to be rolling back to an older version of Word and to shut off updates entirely, unless enough voices make MS realise that perhaps giving users OPTIONS instead of arrogantly pressing them into disruptive surprises like this might be the right thing to do... (as if!)

I'll also direct your attention to another post in this community, where a couple of us voice our feedback since the celebratory introduction of ths "modern" feature for some time now. Might be worth a look, and an opportunity to pool criticism in one place. (I already recognised one or two names in here from there)

To remove the modern comments feature try deleting the following two keys from the registry. You should make the usual backup first.





Praise be! Not sure if it broke anything else, but I've deleted these keys (after exporting them to a folder I can easily find if needed) and disabled office updates, and my trusty old non-infuriating comments are back! Thank you!!!

@Bgwilson thanks for this. I'm too chicken to do it myself, but will get a trusted computer genius over here to give it a go. Praise be!


Modern comments sucks. Microsoft Word is for work. They are treating it like the latest thing in social media. UGH! 

Awesome, you're a hero! I was half-way hoping for something like this. It seemed evident to me that the program code for traditional comments must still exist in the current version in parallel to the redesign and probably did for some time while the latter lay dormant, if MS is now flipping the switch and activating them one user at a time regardless of update status. (Some users have reported needing to roll back multiple previous versions to get back to normal). If a registry hack is what it takes because MS is to arrogant and stubborn to implement an option in the program settings for switching back (or, god forbid, switch in between according to current use case), so be it. Let's just hope those clowns don't remove the code with the next update just to spite us...
Can't mess with this right now at a critical stage finalizing a project, but I'll be sure to do so ASAP!
Thank you very much for finding this!

I totally agree!!!! I have been complaining about this so-called upgrade since the day it was foisted on us. As an academic, it has made my job of marking papers much harder. The least Microsoft could do is allow us to go back to the "old" commenting without having to mess with the Registry. I have complained to them directly with of course not even a response. How many of us have to be angry before they hear us? I need to put symbols in the comments. I need to change the color of the text in the comments. I want to jump from one comment to another without MS getting in the way. I have many phrase shortcuts that all are now useless. Come on, Microsoft, do the right thing!

Dear Microsoft,

I've tried everything: Complaining. Explaining. Abstaining and waiting. Now I make a plea. 

I have paid to use Office 365 which includes Word 2016. At this point, I believe I'm due a refund. The product I've been paying for no longer exists. The ease of working that comments provided (I am an editor and teacher) no longer exists. I have now finished fifteen pages in the time I would once have finished thirty. 


You know all of the problems with Modern Comments (should you need clarification please read the many posts here. Check other social media, too.) so I won't elaborate further. I write to ask for a refund. The product I'm paying for is gone. 


You have perverted a once useful office tool into another social media platform. I'm sure that most editors and teachers have no desire to 'start a conversation' because we work alone. Also, we look dopey when our comments contain spelling, capitalization, and other errors that were once auto-corrected based on self-created defaults. Modern comments is utterly disconnected from Word and therefore useless in many work environments. 


You gave me no choice. This is wrong. Please contact me to arrange for my refund.


Thank you,

Frustrated, annoyed and cheated in Sydney,