Use comments in PowerPoint

By Jim Boyce

Many people think of Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003 as a tool to create presentations and nothing more. However, you can use PowerPoint 2003 for many types of tasks, including preparing handouts, managing a seating chart, and creating posters.

Regardless of how you use PowerPoint, the Comment feature will help you add more information to your slide deck and thereby make PowerPoint even more flexible.

Some of the ways to use comments in PowerPoint are:

  • Adding information that is specific to each student to a classroom seating chart
  • Offering suggestions for changes to a slide deck that you are reviewing
  • Inserting questions for a reviewer to address
  • Adding notes to the slide deck for yourself as reminders to get more information about a topic, revise a picture or some text, cite sources for information on the slide, or make other changes

In general, any time you need to add more information to a slide, but don't necessarily want that information to be printed or displayed during a slide show, you can add that information by using a comment.

Working with comments in PowerPoint

As in some of the other Microsoft Office System programs, comments in PowerPoint are like tags that you insert at various points in your document. In PowerPoint, you can insert comments at any place in a slide. A comment appears as a small square that contains an identifier; the identifier consists of the initials of the person who added the comment and a comment number. When you rest the pointer on a comment or double-click it, a window opens to show the text stored in the comment (see the following examples).

Use comments in PowerPoint to offer suggestions for changes to a slide deck that you are reviewing.

PowerPoint slide with comment showing

Use comments to make notes on a seating chart.

Comments in a seating chart

Add a comment

So, how can you add comments to a slide? It's really very easy.

  1. Start PowerPoint, and click the slide in which you want to insert the comment.
  2. On the Insert menu, click Comment. Or on the Reviewing toolbar, click Insert Comment . PowerPoint inserts the comment anchor (Button image and Button image in the two images) in the slide and opens a comment box.
  3. Type your text in the comment box, and then click outside the comment box to close it.

To insert a comment near a specific item in the slide, click that item to select it. Then click Insert Comment to insert the comment.

Move a comment

After you insert a few comments on a slide, you'll likely decide that you want to move some of them. Moving a comment is easy: Just click the comment, and then drag it to a new location on the slide.

Modify and remove comments

Most documents are works in progress, and PowerPoint slides are no different. As you work on a slide, you'll likely make many changes to it, including changing the text in a comment. To change a comment, double-click the comment to open the comment box. Type your changes, and then click outside the comment box to close it.

Deleting a comment is even easier: Right-click the comment, and click Delete Comment from the menu that appears. Or click the comment to select it and then click Delete Comment on the Reviewing toolbar.

View or hide comments

As mentioned earlier, when you rest the pointer on the comment, PowerPoint displays the comment box (which resembles a pop-up window) and its contents. When you move the pointer away from the comment, PowerPoint closes the comment box again.

To keep a comment box open after you move the pointer away from the comment, click the comment. PowerPoint displays the comment box until you click another item.

You can turn comments on or off globally by clicking Show Markup or Hide Markup on the Reviewing toolbar.

Review comments

When you receive a PowerPoint slide or slide deck from one or more people who have reviewed it and added comments, you'll probably want to review the comments one at a time to address them. PowerPoint makes it easy to step through all of the comments in the slide deck:

  1. Open the slide deck, and if the Reviewing toolbar is not visible, turn it on.
  2. Click Next Item on the Reviewing toolbar.
  3. PowerPoint displays the comment. You can double-click the comment's anchor to keep it open.

To move through the comments, continue clicking Next Item . If you need to move backward through the comments, click Previous Item .

Print comments

At times, you'll find it useful to be able to print the comments on a slide. For example, if you're a teacher using comments to make notes about a seating chart, you might print the comments that are on the chart to share with a parent or another teacher.

You can print comments when you print a slide:

  1. Open the slide deck, and if you're printing only one slide, click the slide to display it.
  2. On the File menu, click Print.
  3. Select the Print comments and ink markup check box.
  4. Set other print options as needed, and then click OK.

Other tools for organizing information in PowerPoint

PowerPoint has two other tools that you can use to include additional information for a slide: the notes page and ink markup.

The notes page

The notes page is a place that you can add notes for each slide. Usually, you use the notes page to add notes that help you keep on track when you make a presentation. However, you can also use the notes page for each slide to keep track of additional information for the slide.

To add notes, open the slide and on the View menu, click Notes Page. PowerPoint displays a different view that has the slide at the top of the page and a text box at the bottom. Add your additional information to the text box.

You can resize the slide image and the text box on the notes page as needed. Just click the item, and then drag one of the resize handles. You can also paste items into the notes page.

If you ever need to print your notes, on the File menu, click Print. In the Print What list, click Notes Pages, set other print options as needed, and then click OK.

Ink markup

If you are using Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, you can also mark up a slide by using the stylus. The resulting ink markup can serve as notes, comments, and so on. You can control visibility of ink markup in the same way that you show or hide comments. The options for printing are also the same.

About the author    Jim Boyce has written more than 50 books about computers and technology, many of them about the Microsoft Office System. He regularly contributes to several online sites and publications. His latest book is Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 Inside Out, which is available from Microsoft Learning.

Applies to:
PowerPoint 2003