How to change the existing author name for comments in Word

How to change the existing author name for comments in Word

Microsoft Word‘s commenting feature makes it easy to comment on a document and reply to comments others have made about a particular topic. These comments, as well as the names and sometimes the initials of users that left them, are displayed in different colours on the left side of the screen and can be seen by anyone who opens the document. This can be useful if you’re working with a group of people on a document and want to track changes made to the document.

However, for privacy and many other reasons, some people would want to either delete or change their names from these comment boxes. This process is easy if there is only one editor/commentator or no one has commented on the document. However, it becomes slightly more complicated if there are multiple editors/commentators or some have already commented on the document.

In this article, we will go over the steps to change the name(s) of an existing editor/commentator in a Word document.

Before going through the steps, let me first explain why some people may want to change their name from a Word document’s comment box. 

You can jump directly to the steps by clicking the links below if you are not interested in the background information:

1. Changing the author’s name prior to making any changes or comments to the document.

2. Changing the existing author’s name after the changes or comments have been made.

Why would people want to change the author name?

  • First, it’s for confidentiality reasons. It can happen that your document (dissertation, essay, report, etc.) has been written by someone else, and you want to ensure that your supervisors or lecturers do not see their names to avoid possible risks of plagiarism.
  • Another reason is that you may have used someone else’s computer to make document changes. And since Word will automatically save their name in the comment box by default, you will want to change it to your name.
  • The author’s name is incorrect, misspelt or outdated: the author’s name may have been typed incorrectly or misspelt, or maybe they have since changed their name, so you would want to correct or update it.
  • For privacy reasons: you may have commented on a very sensitive topic (e.g. giving an opinion on a politician or controversial issue), and you want to keep it anonymous to protect your privacy.

  • You may be working for an organization that requires all documents to have a specific author name. Changing the name would make compliance easier.
  • Lastly, it may happen that you sent your document to an external editor who has made comments on your essay or dissertation to help you understand a particular section, and you want them removed from the document.

No matter the reason, there are several ways you can remove the author’s name from a Word document. However, in this article we are going to share two methods to do so depending on the version of Word you’re using:

1. Changing the author’s name prior to making any changes or comments to the document.

2. Changing the existing author’s name after the changes or comments have been made.

Without any further ado, let’s get started.


How to change the author’s name prior to making any changes or comments to the document.

This first method is easy and does not require any special or advanced knowledge of Word. All you have to do is to follow the following steps:

• Step 1: Open the Word document you want to make changes or comments to.

As you can see in the screenshot above, three people have already made their comments: supervisor 1, supervisortwo2 and supervisor 3. Let’s suppose I am supervisor 4, and I would like to put my comments too. If I start commenting right away, my real name Nephtali Tshitadi (in the top right corner), will appear in the comment box. To keep things easier and in order, I have to change the user name from Nephtali Tshitadi to supervisor 4. How? Let’s move to the next step.

• Step 2: Click on “File“, then “Option“.

• Step 3: Under General tab, scroll down until you find the section “Personalize the copy of your Microsoft Office“.

• Step 4: From there, you can change the User name et initials to whatever you want. Keep in mind that the user name is the name that will appear in the comments.

For the purpose of this tutorial, we will change the username from Nephtali Tshitadi to Supervisor 4 in order to keep the order.

Your Attention!

• Step 5: Once you have put the username and initials, please don’t forget to tick the box “Always use these values regardless of sign in to Office“, otherwise no changes will be made.

And hit “OK“.

• Step 6: Congratulations!

You have just changed the author’s name for comments. You can now comment on the document and the new user name will appear in the comment area.

If later you want to change your  real user name back, just follow the same steps above.


How to change the existing author’s name after the changes or comments have been made.

The second method is a bit more complicated and uncommon, but if you follow me very well, you should be able to do it quickly and easily.

As you can see in the screenshot below, four people have already made the comments: supervisor 1, supervisor 2, supervisor 3, and the le last commentator came out as my own name “Nephtali Tshitadi” because I forgot to change it. Now, in this case, I want to change the existing name Nephtali Tshitadi to supervisor 4 for whatever reason.  How can I do it? Let’s move to the next step.

• Step 1: Open the document, then click on File.

• Step 2: Then click on Save As

• Step 3: A menu will appear where you will be asked to specify the place where you want to save your document and the type of the document. Please save your document as “Word XML Document” and hit OK.

• Step 4: After that, close Word and locate the file where you saved it, right-click on it and choose Open with Notepad.

• Step 5: Notepad will open your document. Please ignore how it looks; just move to the next step. On Notepad, click on Edit, then Replace.

Step 6: A menu will pop up where you will have to replace the existing name with another one. Remember we wanted to replace the name Nephtali Tshitadi with Supervisor 4. Proceed as follows:

  1.  In the first case, “Find what“, put the name you want to replace (make sure you write it correctly). In this example, we’ll put Nephtali Tshitadi
  2. In the second case, “Replace with“, put the new name you want to appear in the comment. In this example, we’ll put Supervisor 4.
  3. Once done, click on “Replace All” (click two or three times to make sure the changes take place).

Close that menu.

Step 7: Once done, click on File, save, and close Notepad.

Step 7: The last step is to go back to the folder your document was saved to, open it, et Save As back to Word Document.

Congratulations! You have successfully changed the name with a new one, and you can now send your document to your supervisor.


With the steps outlined above, you should be able to change the name of an existing commenter in a Word document. The process is relatively simple and can be completed in just a few minutes. If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your friends and family. Should you have any questions or concerns, please leave a comment below, and we will try to help you as best as possible. Alternatively, you can send us an email at co*****@ne*******.com, and we will be happy to assist you.

Nephtali Tshitadi

Nephtali Tshitadi is a researcher and professional content writer with more than 5 years of experience. He holds a Masters's qualification (Mcom) in Finance, Honours Degree in Financial Management, and BCom in Economics.

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