M365 Changelog: Feature Update: Modern comments in Word

MC277410 – As originally announced in March of 2021, MC240609 introduced the Modern comments feature in Microsoft Word for Windows. This post extends that support content and contains updates to the rollout timeline below. Thank you for your patience.

Microsoft is rolling out a new comments experience in Word with improved keyboard shortcuts as well as improved @mentions and notifications. This experience unifies how comments work across Word, Excel, and PPT.

Key points

  • This message is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 76186
  • Timing:
    • Current Channel Preview, February 2021
    • Current Channel, August 2021 (previously, June 2021)
  • Roll-out: User-level
  • Action: review and assess

How this will affect your organization:

When this has rolled out to your users, they will see the modern comments experience, which allows them to @mention and post comments without worrying that co-authors will see their comments before they are complete.

Modern comments provides a consistent commenting experience across Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Users will be able to respond to comments directly from an email notification. The new design provides a focused view of comments as well as an optional all comments view via the Comments pane. With the new post model, Ctrl+Enter is a keyboard shortcut for posting comments.

The new experience shows comments to the right of the page by default. This default focused view hides all resolved comments so you can focus on active comments. The Comments button in the upper right corner of your Word window lets you switch to the Comments pane. This shows all comments in the document including resolved comments.

Note: Modern comments will temporarily include support for an opt-out toggle in Word’s Options dialog. This will allow users to revert the comments experience to Microsoft’s legacy comments model while they continue to iterate on the new experience and listen to customer feedback. If you use Group Policy to manage Office settings, there will be a policy setting that admins can use to turn off the ability for users to opt-out of Modern comments.

What you need to do to prepare:

You might want to notify your users about this new capability and update your training and documentation as appropriate. Help and supportBlog