Open any Excel sheet and all you see is a bunch of numbers. There may be times when some of those numbers need a little more explaining. The best way to make that sort of contextual information is to add a comment to the respective cell. Adding a comment is as easy as pie. But there's a lot more to it as well. If you haven't made any efforts in getting more out of your comments, we'll touch upon some of the basics and then show you how to format and manage comments effectively.
How to Add Comments in Excel
1. Select the cell on the Excel worksheet where you want to add the command.
2. On the Review tab, in the Comments group, click New Comment.
- Tip: You can also use the keyboard shortcut SHIFT+F2.
3. A new comment box is opened up with the author name at the top of the box. If you want to change the name of the author you can remove it and add another name.
Alternately, if you want another name to be displayed always in your Comment boxes, you can make the change in the Excel Options dialog box. To do this:
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- Select the File tab and click Options.
- In the Excel Options dialog box, on the General tab, in the Personalize your copy of Microsoft Office section,in the User name box, enter a new name that you want to show up in the comments box.
4. The pointer is already placed inside the comment so you can start typing your comment right away.
5. Click outside the comment box to close it. You will now see a tiny red indicator at the bottom of the cell where you placed the comment.
How to Edit Comments in Excel
If you want to make any changes to the comment you added in Excel:
1. Select the cell where you added the comment.
2. On the Review tab, in the Comments group, click Edit Comment. Alternately, press SHIFT+F2.
3. Double-click the text in the comment, and then start editing it.
How to Format Comments in Excel
By default, Excel comments are in the Tahoma font in font size 8. Although you cannot change the default font that is used in Excel, you can change the format of the comment text in each comment. You can also change the shape of a comment if you like.
Let's see how you can change the fonts of the comment text first:
1. Select the cell that contains the comment that you want to format.
2. On the Review tab, in the Comments group, click Edit Comment or press SHIFT+F2.
3. Right-click the comment text that you want to format and click Format Comment.
4. In the Format Comment dialog box, you can choose a formatting option you want to use.
To Change the Shape of the Comment Box
1. From the Customize Quick Access Toolbar drop-down list, select More Commands.
2. The Excel Options dialog box is displayed. In the dialog box, from the Choose commands from drop-down list, select Drawing Tools Format Tab.
3. From the Choose commands from list box, select Change Shape and then click Add.
4. Click OK to close the Excel Options dialog box.
5. Select the cell with the comment and click the comment’s border.
6. On the Quick Access toolbar, click the Change Shape button and from the drop-down gallery, select a shape.
7. Click outside the comment cell.
8. Hover the mouse pointer over the cell with the comment to view the changes.
9. If necessary, you can select another shape to format the cell.
To Add a Picture in Your Comment Box
1. Select the cell containing the comment.
2. Right-click the cell and choose Edit Comment.
3. Right click the comment’s border and choose Format Comment.
4. The Format Comment dialog box is displayed. In the dialog box, select the Colors and Lines tab.
5. Click the Color drop-down list and select Fill Effects.
6. In the Fill Effects dialog box, select the Picture tab and click the Select Picture button.
7. In the Picture dialog box, navigate to the location where the picture is stored, select the picture and click Insert.
8. Close the Fill Effects and the Format Comment dialog boxes.
9. Hover the mouse pointer over the comment to view the picture.
How to Move or Resize an Excel Comment
1. Right-click the cell that has the comment that you want to change, and click Show/Hide Comments.
2. Click the comment box border so that sizing handles appear.
- To move the comment, drag the border of the comment box, or press the appropriate arrow key.
- To resize the comment, drag the handles on the sides and corners of the comment box.
How to Copy Comments to Other Cells
1. Select the cell that contain the comments that you want to copy.
2. On the Home tab, in the Clipboard group, click Copy.
3. Select the upper-left cell of the paste area.
4. On the Home tab, in the Clipboard group, click the Paste dropdown button and select Paste Special.
5. In the Paste Special dialog box, under Paste, click Comments, and then click OK.
6. Press ESC or click another cell to remove the moving border.
- Note: Don't press Enter after you click OK because it will copy the contents of the cell into the paste area along with the comment.
Extract Comments from an Excel Sheet
You can also use macros to extract comments from an Excel sheet. Click here to see a macro in action.
How to Hide Comments in Excel
To hide the comments in a worksheet, just right-click the cell that contains the comment, and then click Show/Hide Comments. If you want to change the default display settings to hide comments and indicators:
1. On the File tab, select Excel Options.
2. In the Excel Options dialog box, on the Advanced tab, in the Display section:
3. In the For cells with comments, show; section, select an option:
- Click No comments or indicators to hide comments and indicators throughout the workbook
- Click Indicators only and comments on hover to show indicators but display comments only when you rest the pointer over their cells.
Review All Comments in a Workbook
1. On the worksheet, click the first cell that contains a comment that you want to review.
2. On the Review tab, in the Comments group, click Next or Previous to view the comments in sequential or reverse order.
Print Excel Comments
To print comments in an Excel sheet:
1. Display or show the comments you want to print.
2. On the Page Layout tab, in the Page Setup section, click the Dialog Launcher at the bottom right of the section.
3. Select the Sheet tab.
4. In the Print section, from the Comments dropdown menu, select As displayed on sheet.
- Tip: Note: If you want to print the comments at the end of the worksheet instead of As displayed on sheet select At end of sheet.
5. Click OK and then choose File->Print.
Delete a Comment
If you want to delete a comment in Excel, simply right-click the cell containing the comment and select Delete Comment.
That's a pretty comprehensive look at how you can use comments in Excel to add contextual information to your data. If you have any questions or best practices you'd like to share with us, be sure to let us know in the comments section.