Margin-based comment colours in MS Word

Hi there.

As usual, many thanks to the Scrivener team for an amazing piece of software. I’ve been using it every day now for a couple of years and still love it…

I’ve been tinkering about trying to find a way to get compiled comments (in .rtf format) to display in the margins in Word in the same colour they are in Scrivener. I’m trying to do this because I have different colour-categorisation of comments, e.g., red for structural issues, green for research issues.

When I compile though, all comment colours get over-written with the colour preference in Word. Given the preferences in Word seem to allow for only one colour for comments I’m starting to think what I’m trying to do can’t be done. I know something similar could be achieved by exporting to inline comments, but that doesn’t really work for me…I’m after margin-placed comments.

Does anyone know how I might achieve this? Or if there’s another solution I’ve missed that might achieve the same result? What I’m after is a printable document with colour coded comments in the margin…


Hi Matt,

There’s no way of doing this, and I don’t think it’s a possibility, either. The trouble is that comments are saved in RTF using the RTF \annotation tag, and this tag has no colour element that can be applied to it - it can contain the author name and some other information, but no colour. So I believe the colour comments are displayed in are entirely up to the receiving application (Word giving comments different colours depending on author).

All the best,

Hi Keith.

Thanks for your quick reply and, again, thanks so much for all the work on Scrivener. It’s brilliant.


The default setting in Word (which you can change in the preferences) is to give each different author a different color (from a fixed set of 8 ). You don’t get to pick which color each author gets - Word assigns those dynamically for each Word “session”, so they’ll change if you close and open the document again. The alternative choice in the preferences is to make comments the exact same color for all authors, and you can specify that color and choose from more than just the 8 that Word assigns. But of course, that isn’t what you are trying to do!

If you want to have different comments in different colors in Word, you will need to change the name of the author for each set of comments. I don’t think you’ll be able to do this coming from Scrivener. In Word, though, you can set your name to “Matt1” (again via preferences) and make some comments, then change your name to “Matt2” and make more comments and they will show up in different colors. You still can’t specify which colors, but they will be different colors (for up to 8 authors, after that they recycle).

More info from a Microsoft MVP: … nOneAuthor