Kathleen Beauchene|
Associate Professor of English
Community College of Rhode Island
401-333-7389 or kbeauchene@ccri.edu


The Electronic Alternative to the Red Pen:
Correcting Papers with MS Word’s (2003) Reviewing Toolbar

No doubt you have used Microsoft Word to draft, write, and revise your own documents. With some basic information, you can now use the features of Microsoft Word’s Reviewing Toolbar to provide comments and to edit others’ documents. Also, by inserting comments into your own drafts, you can identify your own concerns, raise questions, and help guide others as they read through your drafts.

As you probably already know, with Word, you can do any number of things any number of ways. The same is true with the Reviewing Toolbar (RT). You can insert comments and use editing features without turning on the RT, but using the RT is the most economical way to edit a document. Therefore, this handout pertains exclusively to the RT. The RT can be both simple and complex because of the many options it provides for editing, viewing the edits, etc. Please consider this handout a primer (although might not think so by the number of pages). As you become more experienced, you can click around and check out the more advanced features.

To Get Started:
Open the document for review. (Remember to Save or Save As)

Be sure that you are in Print layout view or Web layout view.

With that said, you can turn on the RT in 3 basic ways:

1. View>Toolbar>Reviewing

      2. Right click on any Toolbar> Reviewing

      3. Double click on TRK in the Status Bar (horizontal area at the bottom of the document window in Microsoft Word)

When you use the RT a few times, you can then determine what options you want to keep or add to it. Click on the down arrow for Toolbar Options>Add or Remove Buttons>Reviewing.

From here, you can click on those options you want to remain part of your customized RT and remove the ones you don’t want.

The two main features of the RT are the "Comment" and "Track Change" feature. With these, you can make comments and changes to a document, and then give the reader the option of accepting or rejecting them.

    With this feature, you can insert a comment without overwriting the original text.

    To insert a written comment:

  • Determine where you want to insert a comment. You can (1) move your cursor anywhere and click the left mouse button (2) highlight a word (3) highlight a full sentence (Short Cut: Place cursor anywhere within a sentence, hold down the CTRL key while you click the left mouse button. Word will grab and highlight the entire sentence.)
  • Click on first yellow box on the Reviewing Toolbar. A "balloon" will open up on the ride side of the document. You can type your comments here.
  • Or, if you prefer, you can click on the Reviewing Pane icon to type in your comments at the bottom of the document. In this view, you can change font size, color, etc., which you cannot do when you type in the Balloons. Note, however, that those changes will not appear in the "pop up" box. You can Close it by clicking on the Reviewing Pane icon again. You can leave it open, if you so choose.
  • 1. From my experience, typing in the balloon is easier than working with the Reviewing Pane.

    2. However, because Microsoft Word cannot always display the complete text of a tracked change or comment in a markup balloon, the Reviewing Pane can be useful. From there, you can move back and forth between comments, make changes in text, format, etc. Caution: Comments and corrections made exclusively in the Reviewing Pane will not print with the document, although they can be printed separate from the document.

  • You can eliminate those balloons by going to Show>Balloons>Never. If you do want them, then select Always. (My personal preference is Only for Comments/Formatting.)
  • Each comment is numbered, and the numbering adjusts to insertions, which means you can go back to add comments, and the numbers will be in sequence.
  • Also, note the initials. These represent the person/institution to whom the computer is registered. They can be viewed or changed by going to the main toolbar (not the Reviewing Toobarl and then to Tools> Options>User Information.
  • Type in what you want in the Name and Initial boxes. Now your initials will appear within the balloon and your full name will appear (along with the date and time) when you hover your mouse over the comment.
  •      To read a comment:

  • (Note: Students who do not have Microsoft Word will not be able to see inserted comments. They can, however,  view a Word document if they download a free Microsoft Word Viewer).
  • Move I beam over highlighted area to read comment. It will pop up on the screen. By default, Microsoft Word uses yellow for comments.
  • Also, in the current version of Word, the comment can appear on the right side of the page within a balloon. If you click within a particular balloon, the passage to which the comment refers will also be highlighted. Students must have Microsoft Word in order to read inserted comments.
  • To see all comments on bottom of screen, click on the Reviewing Pane on the RT. as described above.
  •       To scroll through comments:

  • You can move from one comment to another by using the RT icons for Next Comment and Previous Comment.
  • OR if you look to the right of the main window, you’ll notice three buttons below the vertical scroll bar. If you click on the middle button with the circle on it, a pop-up menu appears. Select the object that looks like a post-it note. Notice that the double arrow buttons below the vertical scroll bar are now blue. You can now click on the up arrows or the down arrows button to jump from one comment to the next or to the previous one.
  •      To edit a comment:

  • Either of the options below will allow you to edit your comment.
    1. Go to the "balloon" and type in your correction.
    2. Right click on the highlighted comment. Select Edit and cursor will move to that comment balloon.

    3. Either on the highlighted area or within the balloon, click on the Reviewing Pane so that it opens up at the bottom of the screen. Go to that comment and edit. (Of course, at any time, you can just click on the Reviewing Pane for it to open and move within it to read and edit comments.)

         To delete a comment:

  • Go to the comment in either the balloon or within the document. Right click on it, select Delete Comment.

  • Go to the comment in either the balloon or within the document. Click on Reject Change/Delete Comment icon on the RT. If you click on the arrow, you can use the drop-down menu to delete all comments as well.
  •        To insert an audio comment:

  • Within the RT, click on the drop down menu for Toolbar Options>Reviewing>Add or Remove Buttons>Insert Voice.

    When this feature is turned on, each insertion, deletion, or format change is visually tracked by colors, lines, and underlines. If someone has made changes to your document, Track Change will automatically appear on your computer when you open the document.


         To Customize:

  • You can change the default text color (red) and the line color (black) for text changes. If you are going to have the same document reviewed by more than one reviewer, DO NOT change the colors because Word automatically assigns colors to the first eight reviewers, and you will lose this feature.
  • Right click on TRK (status bar at bottom) >Options

    •  You can also get to this same Option window from Show>Options.

           To Turn on the Tracking Feature:

  • Click on the Track Changes icon on the RT. You know it is on when you see the TRK highlighted on the status bar.
  • Another option to turning on the Track Change features is to double click on TRK in the status bar (bottom of screen). You can also right click and then click on Track Changes.
  •      To Modify text:

    • You decide how you want modifications to appear. You can have your deletions reflected on the right side of the page (as balloons) with your inserted text showing in the color of your choice (or use default color).

    • For this view go to Show>Balloons>Always

    • OR you can have the deletions crossed out.

    • For this view go to Show>Balloons>Only for Comments/Formatting (my preference)
    • Here are some of your basic editing options using the Track Change feature.
    1. Delete words, sentences, paragraphs—just highlight and click delete on the keyboard.
    2. Replace words, sentences, paragraphs—highlight and type over.
    3. Move words, sentences, paragraphs—highlight and drag to wherever you want.

          Navigating from one Change to Another:

    • Use the Nextand Previous icons on the RT to go from one change to another.

          To Accept/Reject Changes:  

    • To accept/reject either an individual insertion or a deletion, go to the corrected area. Right click. If you are on inserted text, then you will have the option to Accept Insertion or Reject Insertion.

    • If you are on deleted text, when you right click, you will have the option to either Accept Deletion or Reject Deletion.

    • From the RT, click on the Accept Change icon. You can also accept all changes made to your document from here by clicking the down arrow and then dropping down to Accept all Changes Shown or Accept all Changes in Document.

    • From the RT, you can reject individual insertions or deletions or reject them all. Click on the Reject Change/Delete Comment icon to delete a change.
    • To reject all changes/comments made to your document from here, click the down arrow and then drop down and select your appropriate option.

         To Turn off Track Changes:

    • Click on Track Changes icon on the RT. TRK in the status bar will then be dimmed , which indicates that it has been turned off.
    • Or you can double click on TRK in the status bar for the same effect.

          Show Changes and Comments:

    • The Show icon is actually a menu that allows you to "show" or select different aspects of a review. Here you can control what changes to the document you want to be visible to others. To view only comments,  check that box. Also, because a document can be reviewed by any number of reviewers, you can select which reviewer’s comments and changes you want to see by going to Reviewers. Check an individual name for reviews from that person. 

         Display for Review Menu:

    • Click on the arrow in the Display for Review box to select how to view the document.

    Final Showing Markup – shows the different changes, emphasizing changes that have been removed from the document (I use this view most frequently.)

    Final – shows what the document will look like after the changes have been applied

    Original Showing Markup – shows the different changes, emphasizing the items that were added to the original document.

    Original – the original state of the document before any changes were made

         To Print:

    • To print the entire document with comments, go to File>Print>Options>Document showing markup.

        TO SEND:

    • When you send your document and if it opens up showing any mark ups or comments, read on.