Associate Professor of English
Community College of Rhode Island
401-333-7389 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Electronic Alternative to the Red Pen:
Correcting Papers with MS
Word’s (2003) Reviewing Toolbar
RATIONALE: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
STEPS: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:
area at the bottom of the document window in Microsoft Word)
2. Right click on any Toolbar> Reviewing
3. Double click on TRK
in the Status Bar (
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.
FEATURES: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
Word will grab and highlight the entire sentence.)
Click on first yellow box
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
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
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).
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
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.
- Go to the "balloon" and type in your
- Right click on the highlighted
comment. Select Edit and cursor will move to that
- 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
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
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
- TRACK CHANGE
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.
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
To Turn on the Tracking
Click on the Track Changes
on the RT. You know it is on when you see the TRK
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
- Delete words, sentences, paragraphs—just highlight and click
delete on the keyboard.
- Replace words, sentences, paragraphs—highlight and type
- Move words, sentences, paragraphs—highlight and drag to
wherever you want.
Navigating from one Change to
- 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
- 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
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
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
To Turn off Track Changes:
- Click on Track Changes
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
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 the entire document with comments, go to
File>Print>Options>Document showing markup.
- When you send your document and if it opens up showing any mark
ups or comments,