Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Using Multiple References to a Single Comment.

Using Multiple References to a Single Comment

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 9, 2012)

Gabriel uses Word's Comment feature to add comments to documents he edits. He asked if there is a way to add a comment a single time and provide multiple references to that single comment. Unfortunately, there is no intrinsic way to do this using Word's Comment feature. There are some ways you can approach the problem, however, that may provide the desired result.

If your desire is to limit the verbiage in the Comments area of Word, you can manually number your own comments and then reference them. You know that Word numbers comments automatically, but when you actually insert a comment you could first type a comment identifier, such as "Comment 1," "C1," or "#1." Then, go ahead and type your lengthy comment. At later points in the document, when you want to refer to the same lengthy comment, insert a comment as you normally would, but then in the comment itself say "See Comment 1" or "See C1." This removes the need to retype the original lengthy comment, provides a reference to the reader, and gives them a non-changing comment number to reference.

Another possible solution is definitely low-tech and uses Word's highlighter feature. If you have a limited number of "standard" explanatory comments you use in editing documents, you could add a "legend" at the beginning of a document that ties the explanation to a specific highlighter color. Then, when that comment is applicable to a piece of text, highlight that piece of text using the same highlighter color. For instance, you might mark all instances of passive voice restructuring with green highlighter, and all instances of possessive/plural confusion with purple highlighter.

The final possible approach involves the use of bookmarks and hyperlinks, along with comments. You can try out these steps:

  1. Insert the first comment that you wish to later cross-reference. Word allows you to type the comment.
  2. Select the text of the comment that you just entered. (Not the comment mark in the document, but the actual text of the comment.)
  3. Choose the Bookmark option from the Insert menu. Word displays the Bookmark dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Bookmark dialog box.

  5. Provide a name that you want to use to reference this comment. For instance, C1 could refer to your first comment bookmark.
  6. In your document, place the cursor where you wish to create a cross-reference to the comment you created in step 1.
  7. Choose Hyperlink from the Insert menu, or press Ctrl+K. Word displays the Insert Hyperlink dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  8. Figure 2. The Insert Hyperlink dialog box.

  9. Click the Bookmark button. Word displays the Select Place in Document dialog box.
  10. In the dialog box, select the bookmark name you used in step 4 and click on OK. Word closes the Select Place in Document dialog box and fills in some information in the Insert Hyperlink dialog box.
  11. In the Text to Display box, indicate the text you want used for your cross-reference.
  12. Click OK. Word inserts a hyperlink to your original comment.

With the hyperlink in place, someone can click on the hyperlink and they are taken directly to the comment text you specified in step 2.

If you find that you will be using the same comment cross-reference over and over, you can create an AutoText entry that uses the hyperlink. Follow these steps:

  1. Select the actual hyperlink you just created.
  2. Press Alt+F3 to display the Create AutoText dialog box. (See Figure 3.)
  3. Figure 3. The Create AutoText dialog box.

  4. Enter a name for the AutoText entry, such as C1.
  5. Click on OK to actually create the AutoText entry.

Now, when you later want to refer to the original comment, type the AutoText name and press F3. The hyperlink is automatically added to your document, and you can continue editing as you normally would.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1632) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Using Multiple References to a Single Comment.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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