Displaying time-stamps on comment balloons RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi,

    I am a contract negotiator and often send a document back and forth several times with the document locked and "Tracked Changes" enabled so I can see all additions/deletions that the other party makes. The trouble is that after a few back-and-forths it gets very, very hard to keep up with when a comment was made.

    From browsing forums and searching solutions, it looks to me like the Mac version of Microsoft Word displays this information by default. The closest I can get here in my Windows machine is if I hover the mouse on top of the balloon/bubble it displays a time/date. However, that time-stamp changes every time I send/receive the document. (I'm not sure exactly why but my best guess is that the time-stamp displays the "Last Modified" time, and the comment is considered "modified" if a new comment is inserted above it, thereby changing the ordinal numbering of the original comment.)

    NOTE: In the picture you can see that when I hover the date displayed was 4/18 (the date I had recieved the document back from the other party), BUT I actually made the comment on 3/20 (this is how I've been working so I could remember when my comment was made, but I can't tell the other party to do this. This seems absurd to me and it's endlessly frustrating.

    The result is that I end up having to have the last 2 or 3 versions of the document pulled up, side by side, so I tell which comments are new to the current draft and which ones are just left over from the last version I sent to the person. 

    This seems like a very basic/simple thing to me and I have searched the settings/options/forums/etc and I cannot figure this out! Thank you for any help you can offer!

    Friday, April 26, 2013 3:21 PM

All replies

  • Hi,

    I haven't noticed such behaivor as you mentioned. Could you always reproduce this behavior?

    And if so, could you provide the detail steps to do so?

    Max Meng
    TechNet Community Support

    Tuesday, April 30, 2013 9:54 AM
  • Hi Max,

    Yes, (unfortunately) it's always this way: tracked changes and, particularly important, comment balloons lose their time-stamps when being sent and then returned. So here's an example:

    1) I make a comment on a document on March 20th (labeled as "3/20 sent to site:" because that's the only semi-helpful workaround that I've found), restrict editing on the document, save it, and email it to another party.

    2) The other party reviews my changes/comments, makes their own, and emails it back to me.

    3) When I view the document most, or at least some, of the comment balloons and other tracked changes will now show that they were created on a different date. In this case I viewed the document on April 20th and it says that I made the comment on April 18 (which was, as I recall, when I received the document).

    I tried to insert the screen capture here but it says I can't until verified:


    Thank you for any help/tips you can offer!

    • Edited by Max Meng Wednesday, May 8, 2013 8:13 AM upload image for op
    Tuesday, April 30, 2013 1:25 PM
  • Hi,

    I am still unable to reproduce the behavior as you described.

    As you can see from the test document I used:

    Comment 4 is created years ago by another user;

    Comment 1 is created during my last reply;

    I send the document from one computer to another, between different email and windows user account.

    The time stamp never changed, as we can see from the image I attached.

    Comment 2 and 3 are created today for further test, but the result is same as the last time, nothing changed.

    The only way I find out to reproduce this behavior, is to remove your original comments first, and replaced it by using the same display name as yours (which can be modified in Word Options - General - User Name). Do you think it's possible?

    Max Meng
    TechNet Community Support

    • Proposed as answer by Max Meng Wednesday, May 8, 2013 8:42 AM
    • Unproposed as answer by Max Meng Wednesday, May 8, 2013 8:42 AM
    • Edited by Max Meng Wednesday, May 8, 2013 8:43 AM
    Wednesday, May 8, 2013 8:40 AM
  • Hi Max,

    Thank you very much for your help and research. I am unfamiliar with the kind of layout that is displayed in your screen capture. Is this from Word 2013? My version of Word 2010 does not automatically include the time stamp and when they are displayed (by hovering over a comment balloon as I described earlier) they never reference "X minutes ago". It's only the date and HH:MM:pm/am. So perhaps this bug has been fixed?

    I don't think that the user account name is the answer. The trouble happens when I send the document to a third party who reviews/modifies and then returns it. 

    Thank you again for the feedback and help. I am certainly still hopeful I can find a fix!

    Wednesday, May 8, 2013 1:33 PM
  • Hi Hal,

    Yes, the screenshot in my last reply is from Word 2013, but the result are the same in Word 2010 (yes, the "X minutes ago" is added in Word 2013). And I run the test (modify/add the comments) in Word 2010.

    I upload the screenshot from Word 2013 because as you've noticed, the time stamps are displayed more clearly. (sorry for the confusing.)

    I'm not sure if it is a know issue that has been fixed in the later version of Word 2010, but it still worth to keep your Office up to date, and I suppose you also need to encourage your co-workers to do the same.

    And after you have update your Office to the latest version, try create a new document and see if you can still reproduce this behavior,

    • if no, then we can consider it has been fixed in the update;
    • if yes, please provide more detailed steps, so I can try to follow your exact steps to reproduce it;


    To keep your Office up to date, enable the setting under:

    Control Panel -> Windows Update -> Change settings -> Microsoft Updates -> Give me updates for other Microsoft products when I update Windows

    Also you can mannually download and install the Service Pack 1 for Office 2010 from:


    Max Meng
    TechNet Community Support

    Thursday, May 9, 2013 6:31 AM
  • Hi Max,

    Thank you again for your continued help and attempts to help understand what's going on

    I can not update to 2013 because I am using corporate software and they have not initiated that upgrade. However, here are the steps I took to reproduce (again) this same issue:

    1) on 05/06/13 I made the comment and manually inserted that date in the comment bubble.

    2) Saved the document, restricted editing to allow only tracked changes (don't think that has anything to do with it but I'm just telling you everything!), and emailed it to the outside entity as an attachment using Outlook 2010.

    3) on 05/08/13 I got the document back from the site and you can see in the attached picture that the comment which was in fact created on May 6th now says that I made it on the 7th when I hover the mouse over the comment.

    Monday, May 13, 2013 6:18 PM
  • My Word 2013 doesn't display timestamps at all, not even when I hover over the comment. How do I set that it displays timestamps as in Max' image above?

    Related question: is it possible to change/set a background color for the comment balloons?

    Friday, May 24, 2013 10:04 PM
  • My word 2010 displays exactly the same behavior described here.  Every time the document is opened and saved, the comments display a new date/time.  I have no idea what's new and still needs to be responded to.  If it was a simple document with 10 comments, that wouldn't be a problem.  However, it's a major procurement document with a hundred comments and I have no clue what I need to still answer for our legal department.  Was a solution ever determined?  And my comments display like Hal's, not like Max's.  The amount of work and inefficiency this creates is unbelievable.  If there's not a solution, how does this get taken back to Microsoft to fix or add as a product option?  thanks! 
    Wednesday, January 14, 2015 1:57 PM
  • I've had the same issue with my Word 2010 too and no one seems to have the answer -- this has persisted even with using different PCs running Word 2010.  It's not helpful to track the progression of the discussion if the dates of all comments change to the date the document was last saved.  If anyone knows how to solve this extremely frustrating problem, could you please let us know?

    Thanks very much!

    Monday, April 13, 2015 8:03 PM