Thursday, May 6, 2021

Microsoft Word’s improved comments feature makes teamwork even easier


Microsoft Word gets a modern comments experience fit for the cloud collaboration era.

Image: iStock/flamingoimages

Microsoft Word has been updated with a new comments system in a further expansion of its workplace collaboration tools.

Modern comments were first introduced on the mobile and Web versions of Word, and is now going live on Word for Windows and into preview on Word for Mac.

SEE: Checklist: Securing Windows 10 systems (TechRepublic Premium)

The modern comments experience offers small but marked improvements to the way users post, review and resolve comments posted to a Word document.

The new system integrates features like @mention notifications, email replies and greater control over comments and comment threads, which should provide a richer and more intuitive experience when collaborating on documents as part of a team.

All of this comes as Microsoft continues to place its suite of workplace productivity and collaborate software center-stage against the backdrop of remote work. “Modern comments sets the stage for a richer Word collaboration experience for you and your teams by enabling modern features such as @mention notifications and more,” the company said in a post on its Tech Community blog.

“It aligns how comments work across Office on different endpoints, so that you and your team can rely on a consistent experience regardless of whether you’re using Word, Excel, or PowerPoint on any platform.”

Perhaps the most notable change to comments on Word is the way in which they’re added to a document. Previously, comments would appear in real time as a user tapped them out. The modern comments feature includes a new ‘Post’ button, which means users don’t have to worry about typo-ridden comments being seen by others before they’ve finished drafting them. A comment or reply to a comment can only be edited by the person who wrote it.

Also new in Word are improved @mentions. Enterprise users working on Word documents in the cloud can @mention someone in a comment, who’ll then receive an email notification containing a preview of the document. Users can reply to a comment directly from the email.

SEE: Windows 10: Lists of vocal commands for speech recognition and dictation (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Other updates to the comments system are about making things more flexible and intuitive. For example, users can switch between a contextual view of comments in Word and the comments pane itself, which should make it easier for users to focus on the feedback that’s most relevant to the part of the document they’re working on.

Also, users can now mark comment threads as resolved once they’ve been addressed. Resolved comment threads will remain in the comments pane but won’t appear in the contextual view — again, helping users remain focused on what’s left to be done.

Microsoft said: “These new commenting experiences are ideal for today’s remote teams who may be working together from across town or around the world.

“Comments eliminate the need to coordinate schedules or conduct in-person discussions, providing greater flexibility and enabling collaborators to provide better insights. A consistent experience across applications makes everything flow smoothly.” 

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