In Microsoft Word, is it possible to have bubbles reserved only for comments, and to have inserts show up as colored/underlined and deletions as colored/strikethrough? I’m an editor who’s been working in Word since forever, but I always was fine with deletions being in bubbles. I just today discovered that it doesn’t seem possible to make deletions be strikethroughs without making comment bubbles impossible.
This is a classic case of good news / bad news, and it also highlights the extraordinary challenge facing user interface designers on a program as deep and complex as Microsoft Word: You can’t really please all the people all the time because it just gets infinitely complex and unworkable.
So the good news is that, yes, you can turn off tracking bubbles if you’d prefer not to have that take over the right side of the Microsoft Word document you’re editing and / or working on with colleagues.
The bad news?
It’s an all or nothing proposition. If you want to be able to see all the comments at once on a side bar, you’re going to end up having other revision tracking stuff share the space too.
Let’s jump in so you can see the difference.
First off, here’s what you’re probably used to if you’re using revision tracking in MSWORD:
By default, insertions are shown in a different color and underlined (see “the” and “often times” in the example above), deletions just vanish and have a pointer to the comment balloon (see “Deleted: a” and “Deleted: enough”) and actual comments left by one of the authors to the other people working on the document are denoted with a word or phrase being highlighted and the balloon on the side (see “Kittens are not cats”).
It would be lovely to be able to say “show deletions as strike-through text in the document body, not as a balloon” but that’s just not an option.
What is available to tweak? Choose” Preferences” from the Word menu and you’ll see:
Now click on “Track Changes” (second row, fourth icon) and look closely to find the following option:
So you can streamline the balloons by disabling reviewer, time stamp and action buttons being displayed, which looks like this:
Nicer. Definitely simplified. But if you disable balloons entirely, that entire column vanishes from the document display and you’re left with this:
As you can see with the pop-up, comments show up when the cursor is hovering over a highlighted word or phrase, inserts are shown colored and underlined and deletions are shown colored and with a strike-through line.
Melding the two? Sadly, it’s just not an option.
So there you go. Hope this is helpful in at least showing the options you have in Microsoft Word with revision tracking.