Word: Can’t add a comment

October 14, 2009


Track Changes is turned on but you’re working in the Final mode of the document (in other words, you can’t see the balloons etc. for the tracked changes). You want to add a comment to the author so you click the Comment icon. The Comments pane displays in the lower section of the document (this is in Word 2003; I’m not sure if it works the same in Word 2007). You start typing your comment, then realize that it’s not showing or only part of it has gone in. Or, you’ve already added a comment without any problem, then realized you’ve made a typo, so you go back to fix it and now anything you type isn’t displayed.


If you look carefully, you might see a message in the status bar telling you ‘This modification is not allowed because the document is locked.’ Of course, you wonder why it’s locked — after all, you have full permission on this document.


Well, I can’t answer the ‘Why is it locked?’ question, but I suspect it has something to do with Word repaginating the document to allow for the comment balloon (as if Final Showing Markup mode was on).


Wait! That’s all you have to do — wait for Word to finish doing whatever it’s doing. After a few seconds, the message disappears and you can make the changes or finish typing your comment.

If anyone knows why this happens, and importantly, how to turn this background repagination off (yes, all the usual settings are turned off), then please feel free to add your solution to the Comments for this post.

BTW, the ONLY information that the Microsoft Support website has on this message is cryptic, to say the least: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/818852/en-us. And all the documents I’ve worked on where I had this message were NOT protected for comments or anything else.

[Links last checked September 2009]


  1. This affects Word 2003 and 2007

  2. congrats!

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