Private Annotations in Word

By Office Feature PM on April 9, 2020

Hi everyone, Jessica Chen here! I’m a Program Manager on the Office Pen and Ink team, and I’m excited to share a preview of a new feature we’re exploring bringing to Word: Private Annotations. 

Private Annotations is a way for you to easily create a Private Copy of shared documents for your personal annotations. This allows you the time and space to collect your thoughts, and thoroughly review a document on your own.  

Ever wanted to scribble out your thoughts and not worry about others seeing them or messing up the original copyDo you print out documents so you can write in the margins and highlight the important parts? If so, give the Private Annotations feature a try!  

How it works

When you have a shared document open (OneDrive or SharePoint backed with share permissions to you)select View > Create a Private Copy.  

Private Annotations

Notice that a copy of the shared document is placed in a folder called Private Copies in your OneDrive, and the file name is prefixed with the word “Private” to distinguish it from the original

Private Annotations

Once created, you can rename, move, or share the file. You are now free to annotate, draw on, highlightor add comments to the document however you like.  

 If you want to access the original document, you will find a link back to the original in the file’s Properties section. Go to File > Info > Properties > Comment field.  


  • This feature is available to Office 365 subscribers that are Insider Fast users on Version 2004 (Build 12725.20006) or later.  
  • This feature is not available for Office 2019 or 2016 


We are actively working on this feature in Office, and your feedback is key to guiding improvements. Let us know what content or styles you’d like to see! If you have any feedback or suggestions, you can submit them by clicking Help > Feedback 

Learn more about what information you should include in your feedback to ensure it’s actionable and reaches the right people. We’re excited to hear from you!  

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Posted in Feature Deep Dives, Insider Fast, Windows Desktop, Word

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