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How to Change the Author Name of Comments in Microsoft Word

In Word, the name of the current author is included in the comments made in the document. The names shown in the comments are the one’s defined in the User name field in Word Options. This setting can be found by going to Options > General > Personalize your copy of Microsoft Office or your Office account details if you’re signed in.

You can therefore change the name shown in the comments by simply updating the names that appear in this setting. This change, however, only affects newly created comments and not existing comments that were made and saved under a different user name. For such existing comments, Word provides no option to change the author name.

While it is possible to remove names from the comments entirely, this may not be ideal in some situations. Fortunately, there’s a workaround I’ve devised that changes the names by temporarily making use of the Word XML Document format. I’ve tested and confirmed that this works with Microsoft Word 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010 and 2007. I however expect it to work on newer versions too.

Word 2019 shows both the author name and initials in the comment balloon. Word versions 2013 and 2016, however, display only the name, while 2010 and 2007 versions just the initials. Despite these differences, the underlying details in the XML file are the same across all versions. As such, it is wise to consider changing the both the comment author’s name and initials to maintain consistency in both details regardless of which is displayed.

Change the Comment Names using the Word XML Document Format

Video tutorial
  1. Open the Word document and use the Save As option to save it as a Word XML Document (*.xml).
  2. Next, open the saved XML document with a text editor like Notepad.
  3. Launch the Find and Replace window by pressing Ctrl+H.
  4. In the Find box enter w:author="Journey Bytes". Replace Journey Bytes with the names of the author you want to change in your case.
  5. In the Replace box enter w:author="Kate Smith". Replace Kate Smith with the new name you want the comments to show then press the replace all button to update all the matches.
  6. Next we need to also update the initials. In the Find box enter w:initials="JB". Replace JB with the initials you want to change in your case.
  7. In the Replace box enter w:initials="KS". Replace KS with the new initials you want the comments to show then press the replace all button to update all the matches.
  8. Save the document and exit the text editor.
  9. Open Microsoft Word and open the edited XML file as a Word document.
  10. Confirm the names (or initials) shown in the comments have been changed, then use the Save As option to save the XML file back to the original Word Document (*.docx) format.


  • Saving the Word document in the XML format retains all the content and formatting in your original document. Nothing is lost or altered. Even though you cannot see any images that may have been in the original document, they are included in the XML file as binary data.
  • You may also replace all instances of the name in question without including the w:author tag and the quotes. The reason I avoided doing this is that this will also replace the name if it appears anywhere else in the document where you may want to retain the original data, such as within the main content or in the Author and Last Modified by fields. However, if this is not a concern, you can do this to change the Author and/or Last Modified by fields in one go if all are attributed to the same author.

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Kelvin Kathia

Kelvin Kathia is a writer that's passionate about sharing solutions to everyday tech problems. He's the founder and editor of Journey Bytes, a tech blog and web design agency. Feel free to leave him comments or questions regarding this post, or by leaving him a message on the contact page. If you found his content helpful, a donation is much appreciated.