by Jennie Ruby
Short answer: yes.
You can change the width of the balloons, the color, which margin they appear in, whether that margin has background shading, whether the balloons have lines connecting them to text, and the typeface and type size of the text in the balloons.
The shading of the comments margin is called the Markup Area Highlight, and is controlled by the Show Markup drop-down list.
Most other balloon settings are found in the Track Changes Options dialog box. You find this from the Review tab. Click the bottom half of the Track Changes tool, and select Change Tracking Options.
The background color of the balloons themselves is controlled by the Comments drop-down list in the Markup section. If you choose By author, Word automatically assigns each person who comments on the document a different color. If you choose another color, Word displays all comment balloons on your screen in the color you choose. However, if you send the document to someone else, they will see whatever color their copy of Word is set to display.
The bottom section of the dialog box controls other balloon appearance options.
Those settings are straightforward. But changing the typeface and type size of the text is not so obvious. To do this, you must locate and modify the Balloon Text style.
To find the style, open the Styles pane by clicking the expander arrow at the bottom right of the Styles group on the Home tab. At the bottom of the Styles pane, click the Manage Styles tool.
In the resulting Manage Styles dialog box, set the Sort order to Alphabetical, and select the Balloon Text style. Click the Modify button to select a new typeface and type size for the balloon text. Click OK to modify, then OK to close the Manage Styles dialog box. Your balloons then display their new text style.
These settings apply to all balloons, whether they contain deletions, formatting changes, or comments. If you want to change the typeface and color of comments only, so that they stand out more from the other balloons, follow the same procedure described here, except the style you are looking for is Comment Text. The Comment Text style controls the appearance of comment text when it occurs in balloons and in the Reviewing Pane. However, the size of the comment text in balloons is controlled by the Balloon Text style.
Making the comments and other balloons readable and clear is an important part of gaining acceptance for using tracked changes, and it is important for ensuring that your comments get the attention they need. So get control of your balloons, and get a good review of your document.
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