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NowComment Overview: Working and Commenting on Documents

  1. The NowComment Interface

  2. Viewing Existing Comments

    1. Comments Have Two Parts

    2. Comment Display Options

    3. Commenting Features

  3. Making Comments

    1. Starting a new conversation

    2. Joining an existing conversation (Reply)

  4. Navigation Strip Document Controls

    1. Always Shown

    2. Shown Only in Certain Situations


  1. The NowComment Interface

  2. Documents load in 2-Pane View, with the document in the left-hand (LH) pane and comments in the right-hand (RH) pane. Paragraphs are automatically numbered along the LH pane's right margin.

    Here's an example:

    2-Pane view

    A “comment balloon” next to a paragraph number indicates how many comments that paragraph has (e.g. there are five comments on paragraph #6 in the screenshot above).

    Comments can be on:

    • a particular sentence
    • a particular text paragraph (and also many embedded video/audio players and small images)
    • the document in general (not tied to any particular passage, e.g. the author's background, the document's style and structure, its historical context, etc.)

    Once you click somewhere in the document's text, comment balloons will also appear at the end of all sentences that have sentence-level comments. For example, paragraph #42 below has a total of 4 paragraph-level comments (2 sentence-level and 2 paragraph-level):

    Sample Paragraph

    Mousing over the document highlights the sentence you're on in blue and outlines the paragraph in gray.

    Document passages and comments about them are synced; single clicking a document passage scrolls the screen to highlight and show any related comments. Similarly, clicking on a comment or comment header will scroll the document to highlight and show the corresponding passage.


  3. Viewing Existing Comments

    1. Comments Have Two Parts

      1. “Summary of Comment” —a required overview of your comment; the essential point(s) you want to make. One or two communicative sentences work best.
      2. “Full Comment” — optional; lets you flesh out your summary line with more detailed arguments and perspectives, citations, data, etc.

    2. Comment Display Options


    3. Comment Display Buttons

      Full vs. Summaries mode — When you first load a document, NowComment shows all the comments in Full mode (both the Summary and Full Comment fields). But if you don't want to read all the comments in full right away, choose “Summaries” to just see the Summary field for each comment; this lets you quickly skim what people are talking about. The screenshot above shows comments in Summaries mode.

      Sorted mode — sorts comments by Last Name, by First Name, by the Date the comment was made, or by Tag rather than in document order. Here's an example using Last Name:

      Sort by Last Name

    4. Commenting Features

    5. An “Edit” button will appear for each of your comments; you can edit a comment at any time until someone else replies to it; the comment will show that it's been edited.

      When you mouse over any part of a comment, a “Comment Options” button will appear; mousing over that button will pull down a menu with additional commenting features.


      Comment Options menu

      The Document Owner (the person who uploaded the document) has the most options:

      • Edit Comment — the Document Owner, and the Group Admin if that Document is shared with a Group, can edit a comment; the comment will show that it has been edited.
      • Delete Comment — similarly, the Document Owner can delete a comment at any point.
      • Show Comment URL — this option generates a link that takes people right to that comment and the corresponding part of the document.
      • New Conversation — just an alternate way to start a new conversation (thread).
      • Hide Full Comment — shows just the “Summary of Content” field for this comment.
      • Hide Thread Detail — shows just the “Summary of Content” field for all comments below this one.

      All these options are available to you when the comment is yours even if you're not the Document Owner, but you can only edit or delete your comment if no one has replied to it yet.

      If you're neither the Document Owner nor the Commenter then you can't edit or delete it, but you have all the other options.


  4. Making Comments

    1. Starting a new conversation

      • desktop and laptop users — double click on the passage you want to comment on
      • tablet and phone users — single click on the passage you want to comment on, then click on the resulting new conversation icon at the far right margin. Note: the bigger your screen size the better!

      and an “Add Comment” window will pop up:


      Add New Comment window

      [Note: the “Suggest Revision” feature in the upper right corner of this pop-up is a special kind of sentence comment used to recommend wording, spelling, punctuation, and similar small changes to the Document Owner. It's described here.]


    2. Joining an existing conversation (Reply)

    3. Click on the “Reply” button at the bottom left corner of a comment and a window similar to the one above will pop up. After you finish writing and submitting your comment it will appear slightly below and indented to the right of the comment you replied to.

      Once the commenting window is open, specify whether your comment is about a Sentence, a Paragraph (includes images and video/audio players), or the Document in general.

      The pop-windows offer two Advanced Options, “Private Reply” and “Tags” (available by clicking the arrow next to “Advanced Options”). We describe these on our Features Gallery page.

      When you finish writing and proofing your comment, click the blue button at the bottom right of the pop-up to submit it. There can be a time lag of several seconds, but only click the button once!


  5. Navigation Strip Document Controls

  6. Here's a quick explanation of the controls on the light blue (horizontal) navigation strip near the top of the page (some show all the time, others only under some circumstances):


    Navigation Strip Document Controls

    1. Always Shown
      • “Invite” link — Inviting Others to See and Comment on your Document

      • By default, a document uploaded to NowComment is private; no person or Group you don't invite to it can see it. Public Documents, described on our Features Gallery page, can be found and seen by others through search engines and by browsing our Public Documents page without an invitation (but sending invitations to a Public Document is a good way to get people to it!).

        Anyone can invite people and NowComment Groups to a Public Document, but only the Document Owner can invite others to a Private Document.

        To invite people, click the “Invite” link in the blue navigation strip to get to the Invite page (if the document is a Private Document that's not yours this link will be inactive):


        Invite Page

        where you can:

        • invite people you've previously shared documents with, people who have shared documents with you, and Groups you already belong to (all will be in your Address Book). If you want to create a new Group create it from your My Library page first.
        • invite new people; just input the email addresses, separated by commas, of everyone you want to invite.
        • import class rosters and other contact lists

        Each of the above has its own tab. For more information see our Sharing (Inviting) page.


      • Print Icon

      • Click to print your document in Combined View (described below).

      • “i” Information Icon

      • Mousing over the i information icon provides basic information about the document (e.g. who uploaded it, when it was uploaded).

      • Text Highlighter (Customizable Color Meanings)

      • Our highlighting tool gives you 5 public and 5 private highlighting colors; each can have a customizable meaning. This very powerful NowComment feature is described in its own Highlighting help file.

      • “More” link

      • File Download, File Copy, Tag, Reports, access to Document Properties, and other features are available off this menu; explore at your leisure!

      • Document View Options

      • NowComment always offers you two different views:

        2-Pane and Combined View Radio Buttons
        1. 2-Pane View is the default already described; it's best for reading the document with minimal distraction and reading selected comments.
        2. Combined View puts the document and the comments together in a single pane, making it easy to scroll through the document and read all the comments without needing to do any clicking (but distracting when you're trying to read the document itself).

        In both views, comments show in this sequence:

        • a header at the top of the page giving the number of both General Document comments and Paragraph and sentence comments
        • for paragraphs that have comments, a header shows the paragraph# and a comment balloon with the number of total (Paragraph + Sentence) comments on that paragraph
        • comments on the Paragraph
        • comments on Sentences within the Paragraph
        • General Document comments at the very bottom. You can click on the link in the top header, or just scroll down, to reach them.

        Here's a picture:

        Comment Sequence
      • Updates

      • This feature (if turned on) will send you an email notification of each comment made on that document (either right away or as part of your Daily Digest email, depending on what you chose in your Comment Notifications.


    2. Shown Only in Certain Situations

      • Lock Icon

      • If shown, the Document Owner has set Time Controls (via Document Properties) that don't allow new comments on the document at this time.

      • Social Media

      • Public Documents have clickable icon links that let you post about those documents for Facebook, Twitter, and (via the “AddThis&rldquo; plug-in) other social media services. These social media links aren't given for Private Documents since they're supposed to be private!

        Note: if you're running a web privacy tool it may block these; if so, you'll need to customize it to allow (“whitelist”) nowcomment.com .



      That covers the basics of using NowComment; it's easy! More information on each of these and other topics is available on our Help pages.

      You can try NowComment by commenting on a Public Document or by uploading your own document.

      [Last updated September 12, 2017]

© Copyright 2018, Paul Allison.
“NowComment” and “Turning Documents into Conversations” are registered trademarks of Paul Allison. All rights reserved.

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Quickstart: Commenting and Sharing

How to Comment
  • Click icons on the left to see existing comments.
  • Desktop/Laptop: double-click any text or image to start a new conversation (paragraph# for a video).
    Tablet/Phone: single click then click on the "Start One" link (look right or below).
  • Click "Reply" on a comment to join the conversation.
How to Share Documents
  1. "Upload" a new document.
  2. "Invite" others to it.

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