comments on word for Mac

Copper Contributor

I'd like to see comments in a word document shown in balloons on the documents page. However, they are shown in a side bar, outside the document. does anyone know how to have them showing in balloons and on/within the documents page?

18 Replies
Newsbreak....YOU CAN'T. If you HATE this "feature" then give as much negative feedback as possible through the in-app feedback tool. In the last year MS introduced what they refer to as 'Modern Comments' which is really just a pain in the butt for many users (as you can tell by the complaints rampant on the internet concerning this forced 'upgrade'). For a little while there was a checkbox to revert to the much more intuitive, useful and more functional style of balloon comments that they intentionally made temporary and appears to no longer be available. Some are rolling back to prior versions of Word because of this. Others are abandoning Word because of it. For some reason, MS doesn't acknowledge the problem and refuses to communicate about it.

Write to them, call them, cajole them, do whatever you can to make that 'upgrade' optional rather than fiat.



You should be able to clear the "Enable modern comments" option in Word Preferences. 

@Stefan_Blom  NOPE....that option doesn't exist anymore. It was there as a temporary stopgap while they rolled out the 'feature'. No checkbox to turn off 'not-so-useful-modern-comments' in the most recent revision of Word for Mac 2021, nor a checkbox to disable modern comments. Where the checkbox USED to be (from what I can see in previous articles, etc) is blank. There is no way within the program to do it. If someone from Microsoft would like to comment or reveal some secret way to roll back just that, and go back to comments in balloons on the side of the text instead of the stupid comment pane (pain??) where you have to 'post' your comment and there's no control over autocorrect, spellcheck, etc, that would be wonderful. 


If Microsoft would re-implement the enable modern comments option that you can un-check, THAT would be wonderful. If they would do away with it altogether that would be wonderful as well.  Leaving things as they are is just unacceptable.



Thanks for the update. 


I wasn't aware that the check box had been removed in subscription versions of Word/Office for Mac. It is still present (at File > Options > General) in Word 365 for Windows (specifically Microsoft 365 Personal, Word version 2206).

@Stefan_Blom I’m not talking about the subscription version. But that checkbox has always been talked about as a temporary thing…something that just makes no sense, especially given the furor among the community of editing professionals who think that modern comments ought to be a thing of the past, and the future of comments should be as they were.



The so-called modern comments are only supported in the subscription versions of Office.


If you are running a volume license such as Office 2021 Professional Plus, you have the classic interface for comments, with comment balloons shown in the Markup area. (I am not sure if this applies to perpetual consumer licenses such as Office 2021 Home & Business as well.)



@Stefan_Blom That is just not true. Running 2021 Mac one time purchase Word that has ONLY modern comments or I wouldn’t be complaining about it. Not sure where you’re getting your information, but might want to update.



In a previous message I wrote about Microsoft 365 Personal which does have modern comments and it also has the check box in the Word Options dialog box. Office Professional Plus 2021, which is a perpetual license, has neither modern comments nor the check box.


As I said, I am talking about Word for Windows. It is quite possible that Word for Mac is different in this respect. It wouldn't be the first time that Microsoft took MacWord and WinWord in different directions.


The web app (Word Online) does have the modern comments, regardless of platform. In that version, you cannot turn them off.


For more, see

@Stefan_Blom Wasn’t clear until now that you were referring only to the Windows version, and strange you chose to respond in this way when the TITLE of the thread CLEARLY states it’s referring to the Mac version (‘comments on word for Mac’). Any way to recruit someone who is aware of this issue on the MAC version of MS WORD and whether there are work arounds or registry changes or anything that can be done to revert that one ‘feature’ to the more useful use model in a more permanent way without just going back to a prior version of the software (no longer supported) or just abandoning the platform altogether, as Microsoft appears to be tone deaf about the problems they caused by foisting this disaster on all users with no way to opt out?


Call to ALL MS geeks to address this issue.



I stated in my very first response that "Enable modern comments" should be available in Word for Mac Preferences, because Mac users have indicated in the past that the option is available. I did not claim that I had seen the option myself. I should probably have made that more clear. 


These days, options are removed, and sometimes restored later, between various updates. :(


I recommend that you post feedback for Microsoft using the feedback facility. 



I have now checked with fellow MVP and Mac user Diane Poremsky who has clarified that some perpetual licenses will have the modern comments, while the option to enable and disable the modern comments is not present. Word as part of Office Home & Business falls into that category. 


Send feedback from within Word (see

Thank you all for the inputs. I see that, for now, whilst MS does not listen to users, it will not possible to disable the so-called Modern Comments. It is hard to understand why on earth a company that provides services does not listen to its customers.
Problem is, Stefan, that it appears as if giving feedback in that way causes the feedback to fall into a black hole. MS just doesn't seem to care about users' actual experiences with their products, because this has been a very vocally discussed issue for about a year (if not more) now, and still no progress in resuming the ability to turn off the useless and often harmful 'feature'.
One wonders why it is 'some' perpetual licenses and not either all or none.
So, Diane basically confirmed what I've been saying the whole time, that this supposed feature is there, there's no way to disable it and go back to the way things were, I wonder why it was so hard to convince you of that, when I was just telling you my personal experience with the product.

Any way you MVPs can make some noise that MS might actually listen to??
Yup...this is why I initially answered the way I did before Stefan hijacked us with misinformation. MS needs to be hectored however possible to DEAL with this problem. Not sure how to do that. There is an old petition out there somewhere that you can sign, but not clear that that would make a difference.
many thanks. I'll try to find and sign it



I assure you that the info I provided wasn't intended to be misleading. However, it is clear that what I said was based on a misunderstanding on my part.


I apologize for having contributed to any additional confusion. 


You could say that Microsoft doesn't make it easy for users to keep track of the various products and their minor differences. :(


Do make sure that you post feedback. These user forums are not read by people in a decision making capacity at Microsoft.



Several MVPs, including myself, have already complained to Microsoft about the "modern comments." Some contributors have pointed out that the new comments interface isn't working with screen readers, so there may be an accessibility issue here as well. 


Unfortunately, so far, there has been no indication that the modern comments will be changed or removed. 

So much for MS caring about the user experience. It’s not that they need to change or remove anything…just allow people to opt in or out of them. Why they made that temporary is beyond me.