Software

Insert voice comments into a Word document

When written words just won't do, provide a personal touch by inserting a voice comment into a Word document.
We use Word to share information and ideas via the written word, but there's more to Word than that. When something doesn't lend itself well to the written language, you can insert a voice comment. For instance, you might want to include a personal greeting or clarify a point. Of course, this feature is dependent upon the creator and the recipient having the appropriate hardware, so it won't work for everyone. The creator needs a microphone and the recipient needs speakers. If you can't control the recipient's hardware, you might want to skip this option. It won't help to insert a voice comment the recipient can't hear. Hardware issues aside, inserting a voice comment is easy:

  1. Display the Reviewing toolbar: From the View menu, choose Toolbars and then select Reviewing; or right-click the background of any toolbar and select Reviewing.
  2. If the Insert Voice icon isn't visible, add it: Click the Reviewing toolbar's drop-down arrow (at the right end) and choose Add Or Remove Buttons. Then, select Reviewing and select Insert Voice. In Word 2007, click the Office button and then click Word Options. Select Customize and then select Commands Not In Ribbon from the Choose Commands From drop-down list. Select Insert Voice and click Add and then click OK.
  3. After you add the Insert Voice button, you're ready to record a comment. Position your cursor where you want to insert the comment or highlight a word or phrase if you want to attach the comment to content.
  4. Click the Insert Voice button.
  5. When Word displays the Sound Object dialog box (which seems to take a while the first time), click the Record button (that's the red button at the right end).

  6. Start talking.
  7. When you're finished, click Stop (that's the rectangle to the left of the Record button).
  8. Close the Sound Object dialog box .

Word will insert a comment balloon that looks just like any other comment. However, instead of text, the comment balloon will display a speaker icon. To play the voice comment, simply double-click that icon.

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

32 comments
swells
swells

Voice comments appear to have been removed from Word 2010.

ArchGov
ArchGov

Hmmm, this doesn't seem to apply to desktop or laptop machines. Per MS Word "Help" - "If your computer is a Tablet PC, you can record voice comments. Voice comments are added as sound objects inside comment balloons."

sshalalo
sshalalo

I downloaded the Insert Voice Tool but cannot get the Sound Object dialog box to start recording. What could be the problem?

geopepper
geopepper

Excellent. But when you try to e mail this, the audio will not function when received. If I follow the above procedure, but use edit, mix with file in media player, the receipient seems to be able to hear the sounds. Is this always the case?

alex.ac00
alex.ac00

Cannot find the Insert Voice command in Office 2010 beta

LewisEigen
LewisEigen

This process works with One Note and Excel as well. What I do not understand however is whether or not there is a time limit to the comment.

oneal.j
oneal.j

Great thinking in mixing daily activities like chatting, voice and documents into the same medium. As much as executives and even mid-level managers think that they'e aware of the latest and most current and acceptable methods of good communication, almost all of them ware incapable of fighting for the optional type solutions that you've offered here. In the current sense, it's not practical, it's fun but most companies won't accept it and will punish their employees for trying or introduce this. I wish it wasn't so. Every person who now responds to this thread will argue the opposite with some low percentage example of how it worked in their company or they will either praise it for it's intentional genius. Personally I wish we did things like this 10 years ago.

30bob1
30bob1

My office 10 Word does not seem to have the voice insert. I looked into the recommended place and other various places, but could not find it. Perhaps it could be buried in the program and could be accessed from a prompt command, but I would not know how to do it. KEN

riquesur
riquesur

It didn't work in my Microsoft Office 2000 Word document.

staffordd
staffordd

I think this is a really useful tip. At first I thought to myself - why would you want or need this. Then I thought of one very, very compelling reason. Blind or other limited sighted folk. I am thinking beyond the comment now - I am thinking that to make information truly "accessible" to disabled people, that it would be an interesting idea if Word documents had the option of an "audio track". This would be an optional track, so what might happen is, you would publish your Word document, but, along with it, you might record the ENTIRE DOCUMENT (as if it were an audio book - literally just read the document, unabridged, from start to finish, and record it) and then when the document arrives to a person with sight difficulties or to a blind person, they automatically know that say, as a convention, in the TOP LEFT corner of many Word documents, is the Speaker Icon that Susan mentions - and that they have the OPTION of one-double click, which will then allow them to "hear" the document rather than struggle with other options. I realise this might be difficult when there is a high word count, or it's a 30 page technical report with drawings and tables, but for single page or other straightforward documents - policies, instructions, meeting minutes, letters - why NOT have an audio component for blind or people who have trouble seeing? I think it would be great - audio files can be compressed, they don't have to be large, so there are options. But the idea of embedding comments is quite useful too - users could turn the audio on - read a paragraph - and then hear the author's comments about it. Or, you go the whole way and record the whole document - which then opens a whole world of content to people that do not have the advantage of sight. I think this is yet another of Susan's excellent tips, and I'd like to see it used in a more widespread way - it would be great if some "standard" could be created whereby important Word or PDF documents could have an embedded "soundtrack" for blind people, or, for people who want a break from reading and would prefer or like to have the option to HEAR the content. There is advantage, too, in hearing an author read their own work, in that you get a better feel, from their intonation and expressions, for the MEANING of the content - it's no longer dry words on a page, it's alive and you can HEAR it instead of having to read it. Brilliant. Yes, I know it's maybe not that easy - but it WOULD be...if people would just DO it. I think it has merit, promise and is a good idea. Thanks Susan! Dave

Editor's Picks