Re: MS Word focus issues when revising documents and their comments

Quentin Christensen


I haven't tried "No markup" much, but just looking now, with that set, when you create a comment, it takes you to a pane on the left (at least in Office 365).  I found pressing shift+f6 moved back to the document reliably just now.  

I couldn't replicate scenario 2 myself.

Are you using UI Automation in Word?  Press NVDA+control+g to open NVDA's general settings, then control+shift+tab to move to the last section, "advanced".  Press spacebar to acknowledge the warning, then tab to "Use UI Automation to access Microsoft Word document controls" and spacebar to check that.  Apply and see if that makes a difference.

Kind regards


On Thu, Oct 21, 2021 at 1:27 AM Sally Kiebdaj <fiddle.pup@...> wrote:
Hello list,

Apologies if this has been reported somewhere already but it doesn't look like this specific issue is up on GitHub yet and I'm curious if anyone else has seen it before I try to add it.

I amn running 
-Microsoft® Word 2019 MSO (16.0.10378.20029) 64-bit
-Windows 10 Pro: Version 2004 (OS Build 19041.1288)
-NVDA 2021.2

I am unable to consistently switch focus between the document and comments either to read or edit. Additionally, I cannot seem to focus replies to my comments except through the elements list.

Two different things can go wrong and seem to be impacted by two different settings in MS Word and NVDA. 

Scenario 1: 
I open a document containing both tracked changes and comments. I prefer to make edits with my markup set to "no markup" so that I do not have to hear every deletion or insertion as I read and type. 

This works just fine for making changes to the text. However, if I want to comment on the text that is in "no markup" I often but not always end up stuck in some kind of pane. 

Steps to reproduce: 
1. Open a document containing both tracked changes and comments. Ensure that track changes is on and that show markup is set to "no markup." 
2. Select some text and insert a comment. It doesn't make a difference if you use CTRL + Alt + M or ALT +r+c. 
3. Write a comment and then press ESC to return to the document. 
4. Instead of the document, you hear something that sounds like portions of HTML or XML tags, letters or portions of the author name, or less than signs. Sometimes a comments pane is visible and sometimes it isn't. Getting a sighted user to click the comments pane closed has no effect. Pressing ESC makes NVDA read a "Refresh" button and then returns you to the strange pane with tags in it. ALT + R no longer works (it plays the error ding) but pressing ALT alone does allow you to get into the revision part of the ribbon which still tells you it can be reached by pressing r. Sometimes the ribbon seems to be collapsed in a way that requires me to hit "enter" on the "Tracking" section before I can arrow and tab through the various tracking options. These options appear to be in slightly different positions as well based on what gets read when using arrow keys to navigate. 

The only solution seems to be to click the mouse in the document pane multiple times and then the cursor is always brought to the top of the document regardless of where you had highlighted text for your comment. At this point the ribbon goes back to normal behavior too. 

This pane and focus issue happens less often if you set show markup to "all markup." However, it happens even with all markup shown, just less frequently.

I can read existing comments in the elements list or using NVDA + ALT + C but only if my focus is in the documents pane. When I get stuck in this other pane, the elements list is also focused on that pane and at best shows me any typos in my comments text. At worst, it shows me nothing.

Also, the elements list and NVDA + Alt + C do not give me a way to edit existing comments, as far as I can tell. 

Scenario 2: 
Open the same kind of document with the same tracking and markup settings as above. 
1. Using ALT + R + V or ALT +  R+  P, try to move between comments (so that you can edit them). 
2. Instead of bringing you to the text of the comment, you hear NVDA reading the title bar , saying Tollbar, then saying Pane. It alternates among these three quickly enough that it often interrupts full reading of the title bar. It will keep alternating among these three focus points indefinitely and none of the hotkeys to speak current focus work. They simply have no impact on NVDA reading the three different points of focus. 
3. Press ESC to successfully return to the document at the text that is highlighted for the comment you were trying to read. However you were never able to edit that comment. 

Has anyone else experienced this or things like this? 

Is it just impossible to use comments in conjunction with show markup set to "no markup?" 

Aside from the elements list, is there any other way to access replies to comments or to create a reply to a comment? That seems to have vanished from MS Word and the context menu somewhere between office 2010 and 2019.

If I'm going to pull logs and create a bug, I'd like to hear everything the list has to say first so that I can include it. 

Thank you!

Quentin Christensen
Training and Support Manager

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