Show Word Comments in Balloons

I'm reviewing Word files and inserting comments for the author. I'd like to see my comments in balloons along the sidebar, but Word won't cooperate, and shows them in a Reviewing Pane, at the bottom of the window.


I have trouble editing my comments in the Reviewing Pane. Usually when you select text and start typing, the selected text is replaced with the new text. Not in the Reviewing Pane, unfortunately, where new text is inserted beside the selected text.

It's a real annoyance, and time waster. Editing works just fine in the balloons, which is one of the reasons that I prefer them.

How To Show Balloons in Word 2003

After a few minutes of searching through the menus and options, I figured out how to show the balloons.

  1. First, choose either Print Layout view or  Web Layout view. Balloon comments will only display in these views.
  2. Then, on the Tools menu, click on Options
  3. On the Track Changes tab, in the Balloons section, click the drop down arrow for Use Balloons, and click on Always or Only for Comments/Formatting, then click OK.


The comments now appear in balloons in the right margin.


How To Show Balloons in Word 2007

  1. Choose Print Layout, Full Screen or  Web Layout view. Balloon comments will only display in these views.
  2. Click the Review tab on the Ribbon, then click the Balloons command
  3. In the drop down list, click on Show Revisions in Balloons or Show Only Comments and Formatting in Balloons.



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23 Responses

  1. Anchor says:

    Thank you so much for this!

  2. Michael Fox says:

    This doesn’t seem to work for Word 2010. I found “show revisions in baloons” and marked it, but the annoying lower tracking pane still shows and takes up 1/4 the screen. How do I get rid of the reviewing pane and just use baloons? It used to do this until today.

  3. Paul says:

    I’m having the same problem in Word for Mac 2011 (v. 14.1.3), and “Final Showing Markup” is NOT working for me! Help!

  4. Penny says:

    I’m having the same problem, and it happened all of a sudden. Final markup is not the answer either. Help!

  5. Daniel says:

    I have been having the same problem, but only on some documents that my students have sent in to me. The way I was able to get it to work was by going to the Review tab, clicking show markup, then choosing the balloons drop down menu and then choosing either “show revisions in balloons” or “show formatting and comments in balloons”. I hope this helps someone else because it has been driving me nuts!

  6. Little Sis says:

    Thanks SO much for this. I’ve gone crazy doing my contract work this morning. SO much better with the bubbles.

  7. Bubba Gump says:

    Unfortunately, none of these recommendations are working for me. I have the Final: Show Markup selected. In the “show markup” drop down I have everything selected and in the Balloons option I have “Show only comments and formatting in balloons” selected – however, I’m stuck with this dumb pane. Please help!

  8. Bubba Gump says:


  9. Carol M says:

    I have only the formatting and comments in balloons checked and they show up on the right hand side which is what I want but…. then all of the sudden for no reason other than I moved my cursor or scrolled my page down they jump to the bottom of my screen in the reviewing pane – not what I want!! To get my balloons back I have to save my doc, close and then reopen my doc. Why is this happening???

  10. Lori W says:

    I’m using Word 2013 and it is inconsistently showing the balloons. I’ve tried selecting all views, but the option to select balloons is greyed out. Any suggestions?

  11. J Davis says:

    The same problem occurs with my document. I tried all of the suggestions, but nothing worked, so I took the long route by selecting the entire dorument and then paste it into a new Microsoft Word document. I was then able to see the balloons. Yikes!

  12. Sam says:

    We are having trouble with Word 2013 shows comments in the balloons on screen, but they do not print. Any suggestions?

  13. Chad says:

    Make sure your ‘display for review’ is set to ‘Final showing markup’ and not ‘final’. If it is set to final it will always open the review pane.

  14. Lauren W says:

    Ensure Final Showing Markup is selected. Save your work. Close the file. Reopen. Ta da! Bubbles back.

  15. Matt T says:

    The Comments automatically moved to the foot of the page whilst using find/replace. Having little joy with any of the above suggestions, saving the document under a different name (to prevent locking in any issues) and reopening provided the desired comment bubble view. However, running Find/replace or the spell check led to the same issue over and over for this document. Still none the wiser.

  16. Daliash says:

    Thanks a lot (Y)

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