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Microsoft Word 2010 and 2013: Commenting & Reviewing

This guide is based on a similar guide from the University of Michigan Libraries. See attribution box at the bottom of the page for more information.

Commenting & Reviewing a MS Word Document

You will be sending your documents back and forth with your faculty advisors throughout your writing process. Before you send your document, you should enable the Track Changes feature.  Any changes your advisors make to your document will be recorded, so you can approve or reject that change later.

On the Review Ribbon in the Tracking Group, click on the Track Changes icon to highlight it and enable it. Then, just type in your document as normal, and any change you make will be tracked. Different colors will represent different people commenting on the same document. The colors will change automatically with the different users. To disable track changes, repeat this step.

  • Use Comments if you have a general comment rather than a specific suggestion.
  • To turn off the balloons, click on the Balloons icon, under Show Markup and choose Show All Revisions Inline.

With balloons turned on, all changes (except added text) display in the right margin, including comments. This includes formatting changes such as bold, italic, etc.



Without balloons turned on, all changes are right in the text. Move your cursor over a comment to see a popup box of the comment.


Once everyone has made their changes and comments, you may need to combine everyone’s documents into one final document for review.

  1. On the Review Ribbon, in the Compare Group, click on the Compare icon and choose Combine.

  2. In the resulting dialog box, choose your original document on left side and the revised document on the right side (click on the Folder icon to browse through your files).
  3. Click OK to exit the dialog box.
  4. Repeat as needed until everyone’s documents are combined into one. Notice that a new, combined document is created each time – you only need to save the one that has everyone’s changes together.

Each person’s changes will appear in a different color, so you can easily see who said what. To look at the changes by a single individual, click on the arrow to the right of the Show Markup icon (in the Tracking Group), go down to Reviewers, and choose the single person you want to look at.

Once you have all of the documents combined into one, you need to accept or reject all of the changes and comments. Normally, you will reject all comments – after you address the issue!

Use the Next and Previous icons in the Changes Group of the Review Ribbon to move back and forth to the various changes.

  • To accept a change, click on the changed text (or use the arrow to get to the change), and then click the Accept icon in the Changes Group of the Review Ribbon. You can accept all changes at once by clicking on the pulldown below the Accept icon and selecting Accept All Changes in Document.
  • To reject a change, click on the changed text, and then click the Reject icon in the Changes Group of the Review Ribbon. You can reject all changes at once by clicking on the pulldown below the Reject icon and selecting Reject All Changes in Document.
  • To view what your document would look like with all changes accepted, click on the top-most pulldown on the right side of the Tracking Group and select Final. Note that you will still need to accept or reject all the changes; this is just for viewing, you still need to accept or reject all of the changes before your document is complete.

Attribution and Thanks

The information provided in this guide is based upon a guide created by the University of Michigan Libraries.  They have graciously made their guide available under a Creative Commons License 4.0.  Please click the link to visit the UofM original.