Inserting a comment lets you add a bit of information off to the side. In Word, comments are great for reviewing and editing. Many of us use Excel comments to store additional information about a value. When you add a comment, the comment displays a header. Word displays the user’s initials; Excel displays the user’s name. PowerPoint displays both.

If you use comments, but you don’t like the default heading, change it. The thing to remember is this: Office uses the setting in all of its applications. In other words, don’t make the change I’m about to show you in any Office application if you depend on this setting in another application.

At first, this option seems trivial. If you can’t use it without affecting other applications, what good is it? Here’s the good news. You can change this setting temporarily and insert comments that require a different heading. When you’re done, reset the setting. Each comment will store the header text used when you created the comment. That means you can use this feature to customize all you comments, if you want to go to the trouble of changing and resetting every time. Your needs will dictate this simple technique’s worth.

Excel comments

By default, Excel stores the user name value in comments. If that’s not adequate, you can change it as follows:

  1. From the Tools menu, choose Options.
  2. Click the General tab.
  3. Change the User Name setting.
  1. Click OK. The next time you insert a comment, the heading text will reflect your change.

Word comments

By default, Word displays initials. You can change this setting as follows:

  1. From the Tools menu, choose Options.
  2. Click the User Information tab.
  3. Change the Initials setting.
  4. Click OK.

Similarly to Excel, Word will save a custom header with the comment. Word does limit this setting to just nine characters.

PowerPoint comments

PowerPoint displays both the user name and initials, which adds a bit of flexibility. You’ll find this setting also on the General tab:

  1. From the Tools menu, choose Options.
  2. Click the General tab.
  3. Change the Name and/or Initials setting.
  4. Click OK.

Office 2007

If you’re using Office 2007, you’ll find this option in the same place in all three applications:

  1. Click the Office button.
  2. Click the app Options button.
  3. Choose Popular in the left pane.
  4. Update the option in the Personalize Your Copy Of Microsoft Office section.
  5. Click OK.