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Use a screen reader to add, read, and delete comments in Word

This article is for people with visual or cognitive impairments who use a screen reader program such as Microsoft's Narrator, JAWS, or NVDA with the Microsoft 365 products. This article is part of the Microsoft 365 screen reader support content set where you can find more accessibility information on our apps. For general help, visit Microsoft Support home or Fixes or workarounds for recent office issues.

Use Word with your keyboard and a screen reader to add comments in a Word document. We've tested it with Narrator and JAWS, but it might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques. With comments, you can suggest modifications to documents or mark issues for follow-up. You'll learn how to reply to a comment or delete comments after reading.

Decorative icon Need instructions on how to add comments to a Word document, but not using a screen reader? Refer to Insert or delete a comment.

Notes: 

In this topic

Add a comment

You can add a comment in a Word document, for example, when you are reviewing someone else’s work, if you want to write a note in your own document, or if you’d like to track issues for follow-up.

  1. Navigate to the location in the body text where you want to insert your comment. For more information, refer to the section "Read a document" in Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word.

  2. To select the words in the body text to be highlighted as commented text, hold Ctrl+Shift and press the Right arrow key (to select words after the current cursor location) or Left arrow key (to select words before the current cursor location). You hear each selected word.

  3. To add the new comment, press Ctrl+Alt+M. The focus moves to a new comment text box by the side of the page (called the side track).

    Tip: You can also add a comment from the Comments pane. To do so, press Alt+Z, C or Alt+R, P, 1, L to open the pane. You hear: "New comment, button." Then press Enter.

  4. Type your comment, and press Ctrl+Enter to save it as a new comment thread. To return the focus to where you left off in the body text, press Alt+F12.

Find comments inline

Comment insertion points are highlighted in the document’s body text and announced by your screen reader when you use All Markup mode.

  1. To turn on the All Markup mode, press Alt+R, T, D. The markup menu is expanded, and you hear the name of the currently selected markup. In the markup list, press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear "All markup," and then press Enter to select. The focus returns to the body text.

  2. You can now start reading the content in the document. You can, for example, start continuous reading from your current location in the text or navigate the text line by line. Your screen reader announces when it finds a comment in the text.

  3. To stop reading at any time, press Ctrl. To read the previous comment, that is, the one you just passed, press Alt+R, V.

Read a list of all comments

Sometimes you might want to browse a list of all comment threads instead of reading the body text until you find a comment.

Read the list in the Comments pane

  1. Press Alt+Z, C or Alt+R, P, 1, L to open the Comments pane. The focus moves to the pane, and you hear: "New comment, button."

  2. Press the Tab key once to move the focus to the first comment thread. If the focus was on a commented piece of text, you hear the details of that comment thread instead, and you don't need to press the Tab key.

  3. To browse the comment threads, use the Down and Up arrow keys. For each comment thread, you hear the name of the person who started it, and the number of replies if the thread has any.

  4. To read the first comment of the thread with Narrator, press the SR key+0. JAWS reads the comment text automatically if the Control Description option has been turned on. To learn how to enable Control Description, refer to Make JAWS read comment texts automatically.

  5. If you would like to read the comment in more detail, for example, line by line, press Enter when the focus is on the comment, and then press the Tab key until you hear the comment text. You can then use the Up or Down arrow key to read the text in detail. When finished, press Shift+Tab once to leave the comment text field and to go back to the comment card. From there, you can press the Down arrow key to navigate to the next comment in the same thread or to the next comment thread.

  6. If the comment thread has replies, press Enter to expand the thread, and then use the Down and Up arrow keys to navigate between the replies. With Narrator, press the SR key+0 to read each of them. JAWS reads the replies automatically if the Control Description option has been turned on. To collapse the thread after reading it, press the Up arrow key until you reach the first comment, and then press Enter.

  7. To return the focus to the body text, press Alt+F12.

Read the list with JAWS in the Reviewer’s Comments dialog box

  1. Press Ctrl+Shift+Apostrophe (‘) to open the list of comments. The Reviewer’s Comments dialog box opens.

  2. In the Reviewer’s Comments dialog box, use the Up and Down arrow keys to move in the comment list. JAWS reads the comments and tells you who left the comment and when.

    Tip: If you want to move the focus to an associated commented text in the document, press Enter.

  3. When you’re done, press the Tab key until you hear: "OK button." Then press Enter to close the dialog box and return the focus to the body text.

Make JAWS read comment texts automatically

By default, JAWS only reads the comment info, for example, who inserted the comment and when, but not the comment text itself. To have JAWS read the comment text automatically when the focus is on a comment, you need to go to the JAWS verbosity settings and turn on Control description.

  1. To open the JAWS settings center dialog box, press the SR key+6.

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear "Speech verbosity," press the Down or Up arrow key until you hear "Verbosity level," and then press Enter.

  3. Press the Tab key until you hear "Configure verbosity levels," press the Down or Up arrow key until you hear your current verbosity level (Beginner, intermediate, or advanced), and then press Enter.

  4. Press the Tab key until you hear "Items to be spoken," press the Down or Up arrow key until you hear "Control description," and then press Spacebar. Press the Tab key until you hear "OK button," and then press Enter.

  5. To close the settings center dialog box, press the Tab key until you hear "OK button," and then press Enter.

  6. Move the focus to a comment. You hear who inserted the comment and when and then the comment text. If the focus is already in the comment pane and you press the Up or Down arrow key to navigate to another comment, you might find that the comment text is not announced. When that happens, press Insert+Tab on the comment you want to hear, and JAWS reads the full comment information, including the comment text.

Navigate between comments

No matter where you are in the document, you can quickly jump to and read the next or previous comment thread.

  1. To move to the next comment thread from your current location, press Alt+R, N. To move to the previous comment thread, press Alt+R, V. The focus moves to the thread in the side track, or in the Comments pane if you have it open.

    Tip: When the focus is on the very last comment and you press Alt+R, N, the focus moves back to the first comment.

  2. To read the first comment of the thread, with Narrator, press the SR key+0. With JAWS, move the focus inside the commented text, and then press Alt+Shift+Apostrophe (‘).

  3. If the comment thread has replies, press Enter to expand the thread, use the Down and Up arrow keys to navigate between the replies, and read them individually as instructed in step 1. To collapse the thread after reading it, press the Up arrow key until you reach the first comment, and then press Enter.

  4. To return the focus to the body text, press Alt+F12.

Navigate between the document and the comments 

  • Switch the focus between the document and the comments: When the focus is inside the commented text or on a comment, press Alt+F12.

  • Cycle through different areas in Word: Press Alt+Z, C or Alt+R, P, 1, L to open the Comments pane, and then press F6. The focus cycles between the document body, the Comments pane, status bar, and ribbon. F6 will work even if the focus is not inside a commented text.

  • Navigate from a comment to the document body: When the focus is on a comment, press Esc. The focus moves from the comment to the commented text in the document.

  • Navigate from the document body to a comment: When the focus is inside the commented text, press Shift+F10 or the Windows Menu key to open the context menu. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Go to comment," and then press Enter.

    Tip: In the context menu, you can also find other comments related commands such as Edit comment, Reply to comment, and Resolve comment which also move the focus to the comment area.

Use keyboard shortcuts with comments

To do this

Press

Move the focus between the document and the comments.

Alt+F12

Read the comment at cursor with JAWS.

Alt+Shift+Apostrophe (‘)

Show a list of comments with JAWS.

Ctrl+Shift+Apostrophe (‘)

Read the next comment.

Alt+R, N

Read the previous comment.

Alt+R, V

Open the Comments pane.

Alt+R, P, 1, L or

Alt+Z, C

Open the context menu to access comment related items when the focus is on the commented text.

Shift+F10 or the Windows Menu key

Insert a comment.

Ctrl+Alt+M

Post a comment.

Ctrl+Enter

Reply to comments

  1. Navigate to a comment thread you want to reply to.

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear: "Add mention or reply." Press Enter, type your reply, and then press Ctrl+Enter to save it. The focus returns to the comment thread.

  3. To return the focus to the body text, press Alt+F12.

Delete comments

You can delete comments and comment threads one by one or delete all comments in the document at the same time.

Delete a single comment

  1. Navigate to a comment thread that contains the comment you want to delete.

  2. Press Enter, and then use the Down and Up arrow keys to navigate to the right comment.

  3. Press the Tab key until you hear: "More thread options, button." Press Spacebar to open the menu. Then press the Down arrow key until you hear "Delete comment," and press Spacebar. The comment is deleted and the focus returns to the thread.

Delete a comment thread

  1. Navigate to a comment thread you want to delete.

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear: "More thread options, button." Press Spacebar to open the menu. Then press the Down arrow key until you hear "Delete thread," and press Spacebar. The thread is deleted and the focus returns to the body text if you had the thread open in the side track, or to the New button if you had the thread open in the Comments pane.

Delete all comments

  1. Press Alt+R, D, O.

Resolve comments

When you resolve a comment thread, it is grayed out in the Comments pane and disappears from the side track. No more replies can be added to a resolved thread. You can delete or reopen a resolved thread. Resolving a thread doesn’t delete it.

  1. Navigate to a comment thread you want to resolve.

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear: "More thread options, button." Press Spacebar to open the menu. Then press the Down arrow key until you hear "Resolve thread," and press Spacebar.

    Tip: To reopen a resolved comment thread, you must open the Comments pane, as resolved comments disappear from the side track. Press Alt+Z, C to open the pane if it's not already open. Then navigate to the thread, press the Tab key until you hear "Reopen, button," and press Enter. The thread is editable again.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Use a screen reader to track and review changes in a document in Word

Keyboard shortcuts in Word

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Word

What's new in Microsoft 365: Release notes for Current Channel

Use Word with your keyboard and VoiceOver, the built-in macOS screen reader, to add comments to a Word document. With comments, you can suggest modifications to documents or mark issues for follow-up. You'll learn how to delete comments after reading or reply to a comment.

Notes: 

  • New Microsoft 365 features are released gradually to Microsoft 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in macOS screen reader, VoiceOver. To learn more about using VoiceOver, go to VoiceOver Getting Started Guide.

In this topic

Add a comment

You can add a comment in a Word document, for example, when you are reviewing someone else’s work, if you want to write a note in your own document, or if you’d like to track issues for follow-up.

  1. Navigate to the location in the body text where you want to insert your comment. For more information, refer to the section "Read a document" in Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word.

  2. To select the words in the body text to be highlighted as commented text, hold Shift+Option and press the Right arrow key (to select words after the current cursor location) or Left arrow key (to select words before the current cursor location). You hear each selected word.

  3. Press Control+Option+M, I to go to the Insert menu on the menu bar. To add a new comment, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Comment," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar. The focus moves to a new comment text box by the side of the page.

  4. Type your comment. When done, press Esc.

Show comments in a document

Comments’ insertion points are highlighted in the document’s body text in Markup mode.

  1. To go to the View menu on the menu bar, press Control+Option+M, V.

  2. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Markup," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar. The focus returns to the body text and the comments are shown. If you hear "Ticked, Markup," Markup mode is already on.

Navigate through comments

The actual comment text and details are displayed in a comment box in the margin of your document.

  1. Make sure the Markup mode is on. For instructions, go to Show comments in a document. To go to the comment pane in the margin, while in the body text of the document, press Control+Option+Left arrow key. The focus moves to the last comment in the document.

  2. To move through the comments, press Control+Option+Left arrow key repeatedly.

Reply to comments

  1. Make sure the Markup mode is on. For instructions, check Show comments in a document.

  2. Navigate to the comment thread you want to reply to as instructed in Navigate through comments.

  3. When you find the right comment thread, press Control+Option+Left arrow key until you hear: "Reply, button." Press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  4. Type your reply. When done, press Esc.

Resolve or delete comments

When a comment is resolved, it's marked as done and grayed out in the margin. Resolving a comment doesn’t remove it, but no more replies can be added.

  1. Make sure the Markup mode is on. For instructions, go to Show comments in a document.

  2. Navigate to the comment thread you want to resolve or delete as instructed in Navigate through comments.

  3. When you find the right comment thread, press Control+Option+Left arrow key twice. You hear the name of the user that has left the comment, followed by "You are currently on a text element."

  4. Press Control+Option+Shift+M. The context menu opens. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Resolve Comment" or "Delete Comment," and press Control+Option+Spacebar to select. The comment thread is resolved or deleted and the focus returns to the document body text.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Keyboard shortcuts in Word

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Word

What's new in Microsoft 365: Release notes for Current Channel

Use Word with TalkBack, the built-in Android screen reader, to add comments to a Word document. With comments, you can suggest modifications to documents or mark issues for follow-up. You'll learn how to delete comments after reading or reply to a comment.

Notes: 

  • New Microsoft 365 features are released gradually to Microsoft 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in Android screen reader, TalkBack. To learn more about using TalkBack, go to Android accessibility.

In this topic

Add a comment

You can add a comment in a Word document, for example, when you are reviewing someone else’s work, if you want to write a note in your own document, or if you’d like to track issues for follow-up.

  1. In the Word document, navigate to the location in the text you want to add the comment to.

  2. Drag your finger along the right edge of the screen until you hear: "Not ticked, More options." Double-tap the screen. You hear: "Tab menu, Home selected."

  3. Double-tap the screen, swipe right until you hear "Review tab," and double-tap the screen.

  4. Swipe right repeatedly until you hear "New comment, button," and double-tap the screen.

  5. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your comment. When done, swipe down-then-left to close the keyboard, swipe right until you hear: "Post comment, button," and double-tap the screen. The comment is added to the document as a new comment thread and the focus moves to the Close button in the comment pane.

  6. To close the comment pane and return to the document, double-tap the screen.

Navigate through comments

Each comment in a Word document is indicated with a small speech bubble in the document's right margin. To hear a comment, first navigate to the comment pane in the margin, and then open the comment pane.

  1. To go to the comment pane in the document margin, swipe right repeatedly until you hear: "Comment, hints."

  2. To go to the first comment, swipe right again, and double-tap the screen. The comment pop-out opens. Swipe right until you hear the comment. TalkBack also announces who wrote the comment and when, and if the thread has any replies. If there are replies, keep swiping right until you have heard all of them.

  3. To move to the next comment, swipe right-then-left, and then swipe right until you hear the comment.

Reply to comments

  1. To reply to a comment thread, first navigate to the first comment in the thread as instructed in Navigate through comments.

  2. Swipe right until you hear "Add mention or reply," and double-tap the screen.

  3. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your comment. When done, swipe down-then-left to close the keyboard, then swipe right. You hear: "Post reply, button." Double-tap the screen. The focus returns to the comment pane.

Resolve comments

When you resolve a comment thread, no more replies can be added to it. You can reopen a resolved thread. Resolving a thread doesn’t delete it.

  1. To resolve a comment thread, first navigate to the first comment in the thread as instructed in Navigate through comments.

  2. Swipe right until you hear "More thread actions, button," and double-tap the screen. You hear: "Delete thread." Swipe right until you hear "Resolve thread," and double-tap the screen. The focus stays in the comment pane.

    Tip: To reopen a resolved comment thread, navigate to it. When you hear the first comment, TalkBack also announces that the thread is resolved. Drag your finger around the lower-left corner of the screen until you hear "Button, reopen," and double-tap the screen.

Delete comments

You can delete each individual comment thread.

  1. To delete a comment thread, first navigate to the first comment in the thread as instructed in Navigate through comments.

  2. Swipe right until you hear "More thread actions, button," and double-tap the screen. You hear: "Delete thread." Double-tap the screen, and double-tap the screen again to confirm the deletion of the comment thread. The focus stays in the comment pane.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Word

What's new in Microsoft 365: Release notes for Current Channel

Use Word for the web with your keyboard and a screen reader to add comments in a Word document. We have tested it with Narrator in Microsoft Edge and JAWS and NVDA in Chrome, but it might work with other screen readers and web browsers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques. With comments, you can suggest modifications to documents or mark issues for follow-up. You'll learn how to delete comments after reading or reply to a comment.

Decorative icon Need instructions on how to add comments to a Word document, but not using a screen reader? Refer to Insert or delete a comment.

Notes: 

  • New Microsoft 365 features are released gradually to Microsoft 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • To learn more about screen readers, go to How screen readers work with Microsoft 365.

  • Because Word for the web runs in your web browser, the keyboard shortcuts are different from those in the desktop program. For example, you’ll use Ctrl+F6 instead of F6 for jumping in and out of the commands. Also, common shortcuts like F1 (Help) and Ctrl+O (Open) apply to the web browser – not Word for the web.

In this topic

Use the Comments pane

Using the Comments pane in Word for the web makes it easier to work with comments.

To open the Comments pane, press Ctrl+F6 until you hear "Ribbon tab" or "Ribbon toolbar," depending on which screen reader you are using, and press Z, C. You hear: "Create new comment, button." The focus is now on the New button at the top of the pane.

Tip: If you hear "Additional controls" instead, it means the Comments pane was already open and you just closed it. Press Enter to reopen it. The focus moves to the New button.

Add a comment

You can add a comment in a Word document, for example, when you are reviewing someone else’s work, if you want to write a note in your own document, or if you’d like to track issues for follow-up.

  1. Go to Word for the web in your browser, and open the document you want to comment in the Editing view. For instructions, refer to Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word.

  2. Navigate to the location in the body text where you want to insert your comment.

  3. To select the words in the body text to be highlighted as commented text, hold Ctrl+Shift and press the Right arrow key (to select words after the current cursor location) or Left arrow key (to select words before the current cursor location). You hear each selected word.

  4. To add the new comment, press Ctrl+F6 until you hear "Ribbon tab" or "Ribbon toolbar," depending on which screen reader you are using, and press R, C. The focus moves to a new comment text box by the side of the page (called the side track).

    Tip: You can also add a comment from the Comments pane. To do so, open the pane as instructed in Use the Comments pane. Then press Enter.

  5. Type your comment, and press Ctrl+Enter to save it as a new comment thread. To return the focus to where you left off in the body text, press Alt+F12.

Browse comments

  1. Open the Comments pane as instructed in Use the Comments pane. Then press the Tab key to move to the first comment.

  2. To browse the comment threads in the pane, use the Down and Up arrow keys. For each comment thread, you hear its position in the comment list, for example, "2 of 6."

  3. To read the comment thread, press Enter to expand the thread. Your screen reader announces who wrote the first comment and when, and how many comments there are in the thread. To read the comment with Narrator, press the SR key+0. NVDA reads the comment automatically. If the comment thread has replies, use the Down and Up arrow keys to navigate between the replies. To collapse the thread after reading it, press the Up arrow key until you reach the first comment, and then press Enter.

    Tip: At any time, you can press Alt+F12 to switch the focus between the current comment thread and its location in the body text.

Reply to comments

  1. Open the Comments pane as instructed in Use the Comments pane.

  2. Navigate to the comment thread you want to reply to as instructed in Browse comments.

  3. Press the Tab key until you hear: "Add mention or reply, button." Press Enter, type your reply, and then press Ctrl+Enter to save it. The focus stays on the comment thread.

  4. To return the focus to the body text at the location of the current comment thread, press Alt+F12.

Resolve comments

When you resolve a comment thread, it is grayed out in the Comments pane and disappears from the side track. No more replies can be added to a resolved thread. You can delete or reopen a resolved thread. Resolving a thread doesn’t delete it.

  1. Open the Comments pane as instructed in Use the Comments pane.

  2. Navigate to the comment you want to resolve as instructed in Browse comments, but do not expand the thread.

  3. Press the Tab key until you hear "More thread actions," and press Spacebar. Then press the Down arrow key until you hear "Resolve thread," and press Spacebar. You hear: "Resolved comment thread." The focus stays on the comment thread. 

    Tip: To reopen a resolved comment thread, open the Comments pane as instructed in Use the Comments pane. Then navigate to the comment thread, press the Tab key until you hear "Reopen, button," and press Enter. The comment is editable again.

Delete comments

You can delete each individual comment thread.

  1. Open the Comments pane as instructed in Use the Comments pane.

  2. Navigate to the comment thread you want to delete as instructed in Browse comments, but do not expand the thread.

  3. Press the Tab key until you hear "More thread actions," and press Spacebar. Then press the Down arrow key until you hear "Delete thread," and press Spacebar. You hear: "Deleted comment thread." The focus moves to the New button at the top of the Comments pane.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Keyboard shortcuts in Word

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Word

What's new in Microsoft 365: Release notes for Current Channel

Technical support for customers with disabilities

Microsoft wants to provide the best possible experience for all our customers. If you have a disability or questions related to accessibility, please contact the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk for technical assistance. The Disability Answer Desk support team is trained in using many popular assistive technologies and can offer assistance in English, Spanish, French, and American Sign Language. Please go to the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk site to find out the contact details for your region.

If you are a government, commercial, or enterprise user, please contact the enterprise Disability Answer Desk.

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