Comments in Word can serve many purposes, but they work like writing comments in the margins of a paper document. But of course, using Comments in Word, like other digital technology, provides a lot more than putting pen to paper. You can include external links to web resources, internal links to different parts of a document, and set up a pre-addressed email link for your readers. You can also send your Word file to someone or a group of people who in turn can add comments to your document.
Adding Comments In Word 2011
In Microsoft Word 2007-2011, you can add comments (when you’re writing in the Print Layout or Web Layout views) by first selecting one or more words in your document, and then clicking on Insert > New Comment in the menu bar. Note, I’m using Word 2011 for Mac for this tutorial, but the Comment tool and features are similar for the PC version of Word as well.
You can of course access this tool in Word’s Toolbar, or what is called the Ribbon of Word 2010 or Mac 2011 edition, to create a new note using one single click. Or better yet, create a keyboard shortcut for the New Comment menu item (here’s how for Mac users).
When you add a note, you can write as much as you like in it. Your notes will appear as “balloons” on the side of the page where you selected to add the comment. All comments must be attached to piece of selected text. Comments are useful in the writing process for making notes to yourself, especially when you’re in the flow of writing and you don’t want to stop and check a fact or a resource. You can make a note to do it later.
You or another reader of your document could use Comments to ask questions, make suggested changes, or make references to other sources in your document. The comments you add don’t show up when you print your document.
When your balloon comments get too distracting or take up too much precious space on the screen, you can simply click View > Markup to hide them. Do the same to bring them back. You can delete comments one at a time by clicking the “x” button in the upper-right of the Comment’s title bar.
Adding Links To Comments
What is useful about Comments is that you can include links to webpages, a mailto link, or links to designated parts of your existing document.
To add to a URL, select a piece of text, and add a comment note. Next, either type in your URL or locate the webpage and drag the URL into the note.
Sometimes when another reader or editor of your document is reading your added comments, you might want them to contact you directly by email concerning something you wrote in the document. Considering how lazy we computer users have become, Word enables you to include a mailto link in a comment or attach it directly to piece of text. That way, the lazy reader doesn’t have to stop and create a new mail and add your or someone else’s designated address. You can do it all that work for them.
To add a mailto link, select the Comment box and go to Insert > Hyperlink, or Command+K. In the dialogue box, enter the email address and subject line of the pre-addressed email. If you want to get more fancy, notice that little ScreenTip button above? You can type in a custom message to the reader when they hover their cursor over the resulting link.
Now when a reader clicks on the mailto link, a new email will open with your address and subject line inserted for them, so they don’t have to take their precious time doing it themselves.
If you’re creating a long document, say a 150-page dissertation, you’ll know how unwieldy things can become when you need to find and locate important parts of your text file. You could use a comment in one part of your document to link to another part. However, the process for doing this requires a few more steps to set up.
First off, you need to create a bookmark(s) link to your document. To do this, select the text for the bookmark, and go to Insert > Bookmark. Change the “OLE_Link1” to a custom name. Click Add.
When you want to add your document link in a comment or to a piece of selected text in your document, you need to click Insert > Hyper Link. Select the Document button. Click the Locate… button and your bookmarked anchor should be listed under bookmarks. Your bookmarked text will be highlighted in blue.
To remove hyperlinks, simply select the link and click Delete. Likewise, you can edit the Hyperlink by control-clicking on the link and choosing Insert > Edit Hyperlink.
Let me know what you think about this tutorial, and also what other Word tools you find useful. Also check out our other articles about Word, including How To Make Use Of Research Feature in Microsoft Word 2007, How To Build a Mind Map In Microsoft Word, and How to Make Index Cards in Microsoft Word 2007.