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Word: Show comments only

August 6, 2021

One of my work colleagues asked how to set a document so that only Comments showed in balloons, not all the insertions and deletions etc. As far as I know this setting is Word-specific, not document-specific, so if you need to share a document with others, you may need to give them these instructions to show just the comments.

I’m using Word 365 for Windows, with traditional comments, not Modern Comments, so these instructions may not apply to Modern Comments.

Quick method

  1. Go to the Review tab > Tracking group.
  2. Click the dropdown arrow for Show Markup.
  3. Clear all the checked options EXCEPT Comments (you have to do them one at a time).
  4. In the same Show Markup dropdown, click Balloons and choose Show only Comments and Formatting.

Longer method

  1. Go to the Review tab > Tracking group.
  2. Click the tiny little grey arrow in the bottom right corner of that group.
  3. On the Track Changes Options window, change the Balloons in All Markup View Show to Comments and formatting.
  4. If track formatting is off, then you’ve finished and can stop here. If it’s on, then do the rest of these steps.
  5. Click Advanced Options on the Track Changes Options window
  6. Clear the Track Formatting checkbox.
  7. Click OK, then OK again to close the windows.
  8. Now you have to accept all formatting changes. Go back to the Tracking group on the Review tab.
  9. Click the dropdown arrow next to Show Markup, then UNCHECK all options except Formatting (you have to do them one at a time).
  10. Check again that Formatting is the ONLY option checked.
  11. Click the dropdown arrow underneath Accept, then chose the Accept All Changes Shown option – be careful as these options look alike. This accepts all the formatting changes (if they were tracked).
  12. Now go back to the Show Markup dropdown and recheck the Comments option.

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