Using Callouts

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 28, 2015)

If, for some reason, you don't like the Comment feature in Word, one alternative is that you can place comments into your document using callouts. These are special text boxes that have a small "tail" that you can point to different locations on your document. Callouts are most closely related to the thought or speech bubbles you see used in comic strips all the time.

To use callouts in your document, do the following:

  1. If you don't already have the Drawing toolbar displayed, click on the Drawing tool on the Standard toolbar. Word displays the Drawing toolbar at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Click on the AutoShapes tool, move your mouse to Callouts on the resulting menu, and then choose a callout type from those presented. Word switches to Page Layout view and transforms your mouse pointer into a crosshairs.
  3. Click in your document where you want a corner of the callout to appear, and then drag the mouse to the opposite corner. When you release the mouse button, the callout you selected appears over the top of your document.
  4. Type the text you want to appear within the callout.
  5. Click outside the callout to again start working with your regular document.

Once placed in your document, you can move the callout around as necessary using the same techniques you would use with any other graphic object. If it bothers you that the callout appears over the top of existing text (and thereby obscures it), you could make sure that you have larger margins set on the document and then make sure the callout balloons are placed within the margins of the document.

Since it can get tedious to repeatedly place callouts in a document, you may want to copy a blank callout to the Clipboard (select it and press Ctrl+C), from where you can paste it anywhere else you need it in your document (simply press Ctrl+V).

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1721) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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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