Enlarge the Tiny Text in the Comment and Track Changes Balloon Text

BY STANLEY ZAROWIN

Q. I just upgraded to Word 2002 (in Office XP) and, with just a few exceptions, I find it quite an improvement. But one of those exceptions is literally giving me a headache. If I insert a comment in a document, Word encircles the comment with a balloon off to the right of the text and runs a red dotted line to the point in the text where I added the comment. So far so good. But the default comment’s font is so small I have to strain to read it and I can’t seem to change it.

A. You’re not alone. It’s one of the leading complaints by Word 2002 users and Microsoft has done an exceptional job of hiding the default-changing process under many unintuitive layers. By the way, if you command Word to keep track of changes to a document (Tools, Track Changes), any text you delete also appears in a similar kind of balloon. It looks like this:

Fortunately, I just read about a way to change the default. I found it in Woody’sWatch online newsletter ( http://woodyswatch.com ).

Before I describe how to alter the default, some readers might find it useful to know how to use the add-comment feature: Click on Insert, Comment. Here’s what an added comment looks like:

I use the add-comment feature so often as I edit articles that I’ve placed a Comment icon in my toolbar for convenience.

To add the icon, click on Tools, Customize, Commands, and then, under Categories , move your cursor down to Insert and, in the Commands column, drag the Comment icon up to your toolbar.

Now, patient reader, here’s how to change the default balloon type: Click on View, Task Pane and bring up the Styles and Formatting pane. Then, at the bottom of the screen, next to Show: , click on Custom .

In the Category list, pick All Styles. Check the box marked Balloon Text and click on OK .

Although the process takes lots of steps, it’s sure worth the effort.

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