Why have Microsoft removed numbered comments from Word 2013?

Word 2013 Splash Screen

On the whole, I’m quite fan of the latest version of Microsoft Office – Office 365. There are some features which are genuinely useful and which represent a significant improvement to those found in earlier versions of office.

One such feature is the ‘Simple Markup’ view in tracked changes. This can make navigating a document littered with countless tracked changes much easier and is a nice halfway house between the previous view options of essentially all or nothing.

Sometimes, though, Microsoft makes crazy retrogressive steps by removing useful functionality. I don’t know whether this is in a bid to simplify a complicated product, that they’ve got sick of a particular bit of code or whether it stems from some misguided focus group reporting it should be removed on the grounds of obsolescence.

A prime example of this is the removal of self-numbering comment balloons from Word 2013. Oh yes. With previous versions of Word, inserting a comment balloon would automatically prefix it with the author’s initials, followed by a number (starting, funnily enough, at one).

Word 2007 Comment
How things used to be…

In the latest version of Word, however, only the author’s name appears.  That makes referring to specific comments made by the same author rather tricky.

For lawyers, self-numbering comments were really useful and saved heaps of time when referring back to specific comments within a document. Yes, it’s true that you can use the numbering function to insert numbers manually, but it’s a poor substitute.  And having to waste time adding the numbers manually really grates on me.

So, please, Microsoft… bring back self-numbering comments to Word.

Pretty please….?

Or should I dust off that copy of WordPerfect again?


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