Comments in Word – automatic comment numbers, easy review, etc.
Learn how the DocTools CommentManager Word add-in can help you – NEW
DocTools CommentManager makes it faster and easier than ever to manage comments in Word – add automatic comment numbers, review comments in Word from one place, extract all comments, create inline comments for instructions and help, etc. A time-saving tool for anyone who is involved in editing and reviewing contracts, specifications, legal documents, scientific reports, technical reports, technical specifications, user manuals and other documents where comments are used extensively. Completely compatible with Word's own comment features but with many powerful, new and unique capabilities added. The DocTools CommentManager add-in lets you work with two types of comments in Word:
The type of comment you can insert via the Insert tab or the Review tab in the Ribbon (called comment or standard comment below)
A special type of comment inserted as a 1-column table inline in the document – can be used for instructions, help texts, tips, etc.
Standard comments are normally used during the editing and review phase of a Word document and will most often need to be removed from the final document. Inline comments may be used either as temporary instructions, tips or help during the editing process or as permanent tips or notes.
With DocTools CommentManager, you can do everything you can using Word's own comment features and a lot more. You can:
Empower everyone who works with review and comments in Word. Get DocTools CommentManager today!
Watch the video below and read on to learn how DocTools CommentManager can help you.
The add-in works with Word 2013, Word 2016, Word 2019, Word for Office 365 on PC / Windows.
The add-in works with both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Office.
Video – see examples of DocTools CommentManager features
The video below shows examples of features in the DocTools CommentManager add-in.
Comments in Word can be shown in a number of ways, or they can be hidden. In the video, comments are set to be displayed in balloons. In addition, comments are set to be shown and revisions are set to Show All Markup in order to make the comments visible during the entire video. You can, however, also make comments visible if revisions are set to be displayed as Simple Markup.
NEW in version 1.1: In addition to the Find comment feature illustrated as part of the Review Comments command in the video, version 1.1 of the add-in lets you select a Filter comments option. The filter option will list only the comments that match the Find string you specify. The Filter comments option makes it easy, for example, the get an overview of all comments added by a specific author.
Comment features – comparison
Delete all comments or delete comments individually
Add reply to comments
Go to next or previous comment
Display comments in different ways or hide comments
Insert a comment without using the mouse – press the keyboard shortcut Alt+Ctrl+M
Use the Esc key on the keyboard to move the cursor from a comment back to the document, just after the commented text so you are ready for typing without first deselecting the commented text
Number comments in Word automatically – the numbering is document-specific and can be turned on in some documents and off in others
Display comments in balloons with sequential comment numbers as in Word 2010
Change the author name in existing comments, e.g. to show the company name instead of individual user names in documents that are to be shared with external people
Remove author names from all comments to make them totally neutral – without removing other metadata
Review comments in Word from a control center from where you can see all comments, edit comments, reply to comments, mark comments as resolved, delete comments, etc.
Quickly find an get an overview of all comments that match certain criteria – for example, find all comments added by the same author or comments that include a specific text string
Extract all comments, incl. metadata, to a new document – gives you full overview of all comments and lets you print all comments, if desired
Find a comment in the source document directly from an extract document
Convert selected text to a comment, thereby removing the selection from the document and adding it to a new comment in the location where the text was found
Move a comment from one place in a document to another
Insert inline comments that can be used for tips, instructions, help texts, tips, notes, etc.
Review inline comments via a dialog box that lets you browse through the inline comments and delete the individual inline comments if desired
Delete all inline comments in one operation
Specify default settings for both standard comments, comment numbering, and inline comments – define comment numbering, colors, etc.
Easy access to modify the styles used for comments
Easy access to useful comment commands when you right-click in a comment
Automatic comment numbers added by DocTools CommentManager can be seen by users who don't have the add-in installed
Pricing and general information
February 22, 2020
Supported Word versions:
Word 2013, Word 2016, Word 2019, Word for Office 365 on PC / Windows
Licensing per computer:
Free trial – try before you buy:
Applies to licenses purchased on a single order
No recurring payments
Minor updates within 12 months for free
Number of licenses
Per license price in Euro*
100 or more licenses
* Prices do not include applicable taxes
* One-time payment – no recurring payments
Click a Buy Now button to start the secure order process. All orders are processed securely by MyCommerce Share-It and are delivered online instantly. You can select from a large number of currencies on the order page. The price in other currencies than EUR vary based on the currency exchange rate.
Introduction to some of the special features in DocTools CommentManager
Word's comment feature is often used during the editing and review phase of Word documents. In documents with many comments, you may easily get lost. It can be difficult to get an overview of the comments and keep track of the them all. This work hasn't been made easier after Microsoft, for unknown reasons, removed the numbering from comments. It is where the DocTools CommentManager add-in comes into play.
DocTools CommentManager lets you do everything you can do with comments in Word using the built-in comment functionality – but you can do it easier and faster and with more control. In addition, DocTools CommentManager includes unique and efficient comment features that let you perform tasks you can't do using Word's own functionality. For details about Word's built-in comment functionality, see my article How comments in Word work.
Below, you will find short descriptions and illustrations of some of the special features that are included in DocTools CommentManager to make your work with comments in Word more efficient. You will find more details below this introduction.
Also, take a look at the menus illustrated below and you will get an idea of the number of features.
SPECIAL FEATURE 1 – Add automatic comment numbers in Word
DocTools CommentManager lets you automatically add comment numbers to all comments. The comment numbers will be inserted just above the comment text you enter and will be displayed in square brackets together with the author initials. The full author name will be shown together with data and time information when you hover the mouse over a comment. You can define which font color to use for the comment numbers.
The blue comment numbers in the illustration to the left are to be read as follows:
11 AED is comment no. 11 in the document. The comment was added by the author with initials AED.
12 RD_R11 is comment no. 12 in the document. The comment was added by the author with initials RD. The last part, R11, tells that it is a reply (R) to comment no. 11.
What happens if a document with automatic comment numbers is opened by a user who doesn't have DocTools CommentManager?
Automatic comment numbers will also be shown if the document is opened by a user who doesn't have DocTools CommentManager installed. If a user who doesn't have DocTools CommentManager installed adds new comments, such comment will not be numbered. The automatic numbers of all comments can be updated by the click of a button at any time by users who have DocTools CommentManager installed. This will add any missing comment numbers and correct the numbering of all comments to be sequential.
SPECIAL FEATURE 2 – Display comments in balloons as in Word 2010
As an alternative to adding automatic comment numbers as illustrated above, DocTools CommentManager lets you display comments in balloons almost as in Word 2010. With that display, author initials and comment numbers will be shown after the text "Commented". This type of display is more compact than the standard display in Word 2013 and newer versions.
What happens if a document with this special display is opened by a user who doesn't have DocTools CommentManager?
Note that this special display requires that DocTools CommentManager be installed. This means that users who don't have DocTools CommentManager installed will not be able to use that display.
If you select this display while automatic numbers are also turned on, you will see both sets of numbering in each comment. In case you prefer the Word 2010 display, you could turn on automatic numbers too in case the document is going to be opened by users who don't have DocTools CommentManager. As explained above, the automatic numbers in existing comments will be visible for all users.
SPECIAL FEATURE 3 – Insert inline comments for instructions, help, tips, notes, etc.
You can insert an inline comment with the click of a button. An inline comment is a 1-column table with a heading of your choice. In addition, you can customize the shading color and border applied to inline comments.
Inline comments are useful in templates or documents where you, for example, need to tell the user what to do. Inline comments can also be used to quickly add special tips and notes that must stand out from the text. You can use inline comments both for content such as instructions that are to be deleted from the final document and for tips and notes that are to remain in the final document. A command lets you delete all inline comments with the click of a button so it is easy to get rid of all such comments if needed.
The Review Inline Comments dialog box lets you browse all inline comments to review them. The dialog box shows the number of inline comments found and the index number of the currently selected inline comment. This makes it easy to keep track of the inline comments.
You can delete individual inline comments from the Review Inline Comments dialog box or by simply selecting an inline comment table in the document and delete it.
DocTools CommentManager also includes a command that lets you delete all inline comments in one operation. This is useful, for example, if inline comments are used as temporary instructions to the editor(s) of the document.
SPECIAL FEATURE 4 – Review comments in Word via an easy-to-use control center
The Review Comments command in the More Comment Tools menu makes it easy to manage and review comments even in documents with a lot of comments.
As mentioned above, the Review Comments command works as a control center for managing comments. The command opens a dialog box that lets you review comments, edit comments, add replies to comments, mark comments as resolved or delete comments. You can even spell-check comments you edit using the Edit Comment button.
You can show/hide an overview list of all comments and select comments directly from the overview as you wish.
The illustration below shows the Review Comments dialog box, opened in a document that currently includes 41 comments added by a number of authors.
The Find feature in the Review Comments dialog box makes it easy to find comments that match specific criteria. Information below the Find field shown how many comments were found that match the Find string, it any.
NEW in version 1.1: In the Review Comments dialog box, the find feature lets quickly find comments in two ways:
Find comment keeps all comments in the list. You can then use the Preview and Next buttons to browse the comments that match the Find string.
Filter comments lists only the comments that match the Find string.
SPECIAL FEATURE 5 – Extract comments including metadata
The Extract Comments command in the More Comment Tools menu lets you extract comments to a new document. The extract document will include a row for each comment. You can select whether the extract document is to include all comments or only comments in a selected part of the document.
You can also select how comments are to be sorted in the extract document. You can sort by comment location, by author initials, or by author name.
An extract documents is useful to get a good overview of comments. Also, you can use an extract document to print comments, if desired. From the extract document, you can quickly find the comment in the source document by using the Find Comment command.
The extract document shows the following data:
The illustration below shows part of an extract document.
You will find more details about the comment features below. See also the comparison of features in DocTools CommentManager and Word's built-in comment features above.
The story behind the DocTools CommentManager add-in
For many years, I have provided both a macro and a Word add-in free of charge that let you extract comments from a Word document. Since many companies use comments a lot in relation to the editing and review process of documents, I found that some special comment tools could be useful. Read about some of the special feature above and see the illustrations of the DocTools CommentManager menus and the descriptions of the individual commands below to get an idea of all the features.
About automatic comment numbers in Word
As many Word users have noticed, Microsoft removed the automatic numbering of comments in Word 2013 and newer versions when viewing comments in balloons in Print Layout view. In documents with many comments, it is indeed a big step backward not being able to refer to a comment by number. I found it important to find a way to resolve that problem with DocTools CommentManager. I have included not only one but two different ways you can get your comments numbered. I hope this will help many users who have been missing comment numbering in newer versions of Word.
As regards comment numbers, you may have found workarounds explaining how you can change the style "Comment Text" to be numbered. That style is used by default in comments. This method works to some degree. However, if you add numbers to "Comment Text" and write comments with more than one paragraph, each paragraph will be numbered and thereby result is misleading numbering. Also, you need to spend time on changing the style definition of "Comment Text". With DocTools CommentManager, everything is done for you automatically and each comment gets only one number.
Note that Word 2013 and newer versions still show comment numbers when you are using Draft view or Outline view, if you are viewing Print Preview, or if you are in Print Layout view and comments are shown inline, i.e. not in balloons.
About inline comments
In several of the customer-specific solutions I have developed, I have included tools for easy insertion of a special type of comments that I have referred to as Inline comments. For example, inline comments can be used for tips, notes and help aimed at the users of documents. When working with the development of DocTools CommentManager, I decided to include functionality for inline comments too since it has been highly valued and used by my customers. I have extended and improved the functionality to make it flexible and to make it easy to make inline comments stand out from or match the content of any documents depending on your needs.
I started the development of DocTools CommentManager in the spring 2018. Since I have been busy working with customer-specific solutions and other Word add-ins, I did not find the time to make DocTools CommentManager ready for being published on this website until the start of 2020.
More details about the functionality of DocTools CommentManager
The user interface (i.e. screen texts in the Ribbon, dialog boxes, help, etc.) of DocTools CommentManager is in English but the add-in can be used with any language version of Word.
DocTools CommentManager is easy to use. You can start using it immediately but it is recommended to spend time familiarizing with the functionality in order to take full advantage of all the features.
You have access to the functionality of the add-in via the CommentManager group in the DocTools tab in the Ribbon:
The CommentManager group in the DocTools tab
TIP: You can add any of the commands to the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) if you want. To do this, right-click the desired command and click Add to Quick Access Toolbar.
The Insert Comment command inserts a standard Word comment. You can also use the keyboard shortcut Alt+Ctrl+M to insert a comment. The display of comments depends on your comment display settings.
Help and tips are built into the add-in
If you hover the mouse over a command, you will see a short description of the command. When you select a command that opens a dialog box, the dialog box will show information about what to do. In addition, the Help command in the Help menu provides comprehensive help:
The Comment Display menu – tools for managing how comments are displayed
The Comment Display menu includes several tools for managing how comments are shown on the screen.
The menu also includes tools for changing the author name displayed in comments and for entirely removing author names from all comments.
See MENU – Comment Display below for a short description of all the commands in the Comment Display menu.
The More Comment Tools menu – misc. productivity tools for managing comments
The More Comment Tools menu includes several productivity tools for managing comments.
The Review Comments command works as a control center for managing comments. The command opens a dialog box that lets you review comments, edit comments, add replies to comments, mark comments as resolved or delete comments. You can show/hide an overview of all comments and select comments directly from the overview as you wish.
See MENU – More Comment Tools below for a short description of all the commands in the More Comment Tools menu.
The Inline Comment menu – tools for inserting and managing inline comments in documents
The Inline Comment menu includes commands for inserting, browsing and deleting inline comments.
An inline comment is inserted as a 1-column, 2-row table in the cursor position. The heading text and colors you specify in the Set Special Comment Options dialog box will be applied to the table. You can use inline comments for instructions, help texts, etc. that are to be deleted after the editing process is finished or you can use inline comments for permanent content like tips or notes.
See MENU – Inline Comment below for a short description of all the commands in the Inline Comment menu.
The Comment Options menu – tools for setting general comment options
The Comment Options menu includes commands for defining comment settings for comment numbering, colors and more, for defining how track changes are displayed and for modifying comment styles.
See MENU – Comment Options below for a short description of all the commands in the Comment Options menu.
About the Set Special Comment Options command
The Set Special Comment Options dialog box lets you set defaults for both standard comments and inline comments. You can change the settings whenever you want. Each document will remember your settings for that document.
A progress bar will be shown when you perform operations that may take more than a few seconds.
Overview of all the commands in DocTools CommentManager
Inserts a comment. How the comment is displayed depends on your display settings for comments and revisions.
An index number will be inserted if automatic numbering of comments is turned on in 'Set Special Comment Options'.
Shows/hides comments, either in balloons (if balloons are selected) or inline.
If 'Display for Review' is set to show 'Simple Markup', this command circles between three states: Hiding comments, showing comment icons in the balloon area, and showing full comments in the balloon area.
Apply Standard Comment Display
This command changes the display of comments in balloons to the standard display for Word 2013 and later versions. The command will switch to Print Layout view if another view type is selected. Note that this display can also be set by turning off the option for Word 2010 display in the 'Set Special Comment Options' dialog box.
Display Comments in Balloons as in Word 2010
This command changes the display of comments in balloons to be as close to the display in Word 2010 as possible. The command will switch to Print Layout view if another view type is selected.
TIP: You can also select this command if Word has inadvertently lost that display. Note that this display can also be set in the 'Set Special Comment Options' dialog box.
Update Comment Numbers – All Comments
This command adds/repairs automatic comment numbers of all comments.
You can use this command to fix the numbers if one or more numbers are missing or otherwise are incorrect.
Update Comment Numbers – Selected Comment Only
The selection must be in a comment. This command adds/repairs automatic comment numbers of the selected comment only. If the comment is a reply, the numbering is added/repaired in the top-level comment and all related replies.
Remove Comment Numbers – All Comments
This command removes automatic comment numbers from all comments. The command also turns on the setting for automatic numbering so new comments you add will not be numbered. You can turn on automatic numbering again if needed.
Apply Comment Color by Author
Sets the option for comment color in balloons to 'By author'. Each author's comments will then be applied a separate color (up to 16 colors selected by Word).
You can select other color settings for comments via the 'Advanced Track Changes Options' dialog box.
Change User Name
This command lets you change the user name and initials - used for new comments you add, for all other revisions and as the author name of new documents.
Change Author Names in Existing Comments
This command lets you change author names and initials in existing comments. You can select whether to change the name and initials only in comments with a specific author name or in all comments.
You can, for example, use this command to add your company name as the author of all comments before sending a document to external receivers. You can also use the command to correct an author name in case an incorrect name was set as the author's user name at the time when he/she added comments.
Remove Author Names from All Comments
This command lets you remove author names and initials from all comments in the active document, thereby making the comments fully neutral.
Show/Hide Pictures by Comments
Toggles pictures by comments in balloons on and off. Pictures can only be shown if you have selected standard comment display.
Menu that lets you access Word's built-in commands for displaying balloons:
OPTION 1: Displays comments and revisions in balloons.
OPTION 2: Displays both comments and revisions inline, i.e. never shows balloons.
OPTION 3: Shows comments and formatting in balloons and shows other revisions inline.
If your version of Word isn't English, this menu and its options will be shown in the language of your Word.
SUBMENU: Reviewing Pane
Lets you turn on/off the Reviewing Pane that shows all changes in a list. Works as a split button. Click the primary button to turn on/off the Reviewing Pane with the most recent display.
To display the Reviewing Pane below the document, click the arrow and select 'Reviewing Pane Horizontal'. To display the Reviewing Pane next to the document, click the arrow and select 'Reviewing Pane Vertical'.
If your version of Word isn't English, this menu and its options will be shown in the language of your Word.
SUBMENU: Display for Review
Menu that lets you select how to display track changes: Simple Markup, All Markup, No Markup, Original.
If your version of Word isn't English, this menu and its options will be shown in the language of your Word.
This command opens a dialog box that lets you review comments, edit comments, add replies to comments, mark comments as resolved or delete comments. You can show/hide an overview of all comments and select comments directly from the overview as you wish.
In addition to the comment text, the dialog box shows details about the select comment (author, initials, page, line, and index number and more).
Restore Position of Review Comments Dialog Box
This command lets you restore the position of the 'Review Comments' dialog box to the default so it is fully visible on the screen. Normally, the 'Review Comments' dialog box will open with the position it had most recently. Under special conditions, this may result in the dialog box being positioned outside the screen, making it invisible for you. For example, this may happen if you are using another monitor setup than last time you used the 'Review Comments' command (e.g. switched form two to a single monitor).
This command lets you extract comments to a new document. The extract document will include a row for each comment, including index no., type, page, line, comment scope text, comment text, author and date.
TIP: If you need a printed version of all comments, you can use this command. Print the resulting extract document.
Change Path to Source Document
The active document must be an extract document. This command lets you point out the document that was used as the source document when you created the extract document.
You can use this command if the source document has been moved and/or renamed.
View Extract/Source Side by Side
The active document must be an extract document. The command arranges the extract document and the source document side by side. If the source document is not open, the command will find and open it if possible, using the path stored in the extract document.
The active document must be an extract document or a source document containing comments. This command lets you find a specific comment in a document by its index number (example: comment no. 18).
TIP: If the active document is an extract document, first click anywhere in the row that includes the extracted comment you want to find in the source document. The command will then automatically open/activate the source document and select the comment with the index number found in column 1 in row you clicked in the extract document.
If your have added/removed comments in the source document after creating the extract document, the found comment will be dislocated correspondingly.
Convert Selection to Comment
This command lets you convert text in the document to a comment. The command removes the content and adds it to a new comment in the location where the text was found. The selection must include the text in the main text story that is to be converted to a comment.
This command lets you move a comment, i.e. change the comment so it is linked to a different scope in the same or another paragraph.
The selection must include the text the moved comment is going to point to. You must keep track of the index number of the comment to be moved.
In case of a level 1 comment, any replies added to the comment will be moved too.
TIP: The selection may include or overlap the existing scope of the comment to be moved. This way, you can use this command to correct the scope in case it does not currently mark the desired text.
The selection must be in a comment. Deletes the comment in question.
Delete All Comments in Document
Deletes all comments in the active document.
Delete All Comments Shown
Deletes all comments that are currently shown in the active document. For example, you may have selected to show only comments added by specific people.
Show/Hide Line Numbers
Toggles line numbers on and off for the entire document. Each page will start with line number 1 and show line number for every line. NOTE: Word does not show line numbers next to tables.
You can set a different line number display via the Page Setup dialog box > Layout tab > Line Numbers. If you want the line numbers to match line numbers in comment extract documents you must select 'Restart each page'.
Insert Inline Comment
Inserts a 1-column, 2-row table in the cursor position. The heading text and colors you specify in the 'Set Special Comment Options' dialog box will be applied to the table. You can use inline comments for instructions, help texts, etc. that are to be deleted after the editing process is finished or you can use inline comments for permanent content like tips or notes.
Review Inline Comments
Opens a dialog box that lets you review all inline comments. The dialog box also lets you delete inline comments.
Update Shading and Borders of Inline Comments
This command updates the shading and border colors of all inline comments in the document to match the comment option settings.
Delete All Inline Comments
Deletes all inline comments that have been inserted using the 'Delete All Inline Comments' command. This makes it easy to remove e.g. instructions and help texts that are one meant to be used during the editing process.
Set Special Comment Options
Opens a dialog box that lets you define a number of DocTools CommentManager-specific settings for both standard comments and inline comments.
Restore Comment Option Settings from Attached Template
Lets you import comment options settings from the attached template.
Import Comment Option Settings from Another Word Document
Lets you import comment options settings from the any document or template.
Opens the built-in 'Track Changes Options' dialog box in which you can set basic options for comments and track changes.
The command also lets you update author name and initials of existing comments to the new values you specify.
Advanced Track Changes Options
Opens the built-in 'Advanced Track Changes Options' dialog box in which you can set advanced options for comments and track changes.
SUBMENU: Modify Comment Styles
Commands for modifying the styles used in relation to standard comments:
Modify 'Comment Text' style
Modify 'Comment Reference' style
Modify 'Comment Subject' style
Modify 'Balloon Text' style
Go to Previous Comment
Goes to the previous comment in the active document. Continues from the end when the start is reached.
Go to Next Comment
Goes to the next comment in the active document. Continues from the start when the end is reached.
Help on DocTools CommentManager.
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As described and illustrated above, the DocTools CommentManager add-in adds several efficient tools to Word to help you work more smarter and easier with comments in Word. See also all the other DocTools productivity tools for Microsoft Word.