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Excel Comments - Basics

Add Excel pop-up comments to worksheets cells, to explain the contents, or to offer tips to users. Different ways to print comments - on the sheet, with triangles, with numbers.

Note: In Excel 365, these pop-up comments are called "Notes", and the Comments feature creates new-style Threaded Comments. Some of old-style (legacy) comment features are not available in Threaded Comments.

change font format in pop-up Excel comment

Insert an Excel Comment

To add a comment in a Microsoft Excel worksheet cell, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the cell in which you want the new comment.
    • Note: if multiple cells are selected, only the active cell will have a comment added
  2. In the pop-up menu, click Insert Comment (or Insert Note, in newer versions of Excel)
    • Tip: Or use the insert comment keyboard shortcut: Shift + F2
  3. Type your comment where the cursor is flashing.
  4. Text will wrap automatically. If you want to start a new line, press the Enter key.
  5. To change the size of the comment box, point to one of the small square sizing handles on its border, then drag in or out, to make it smaller or larger
  6. When finished, click outside the comment box

The cell where you added the comment has a small red triangle in its upper right corner. In the screen shot below, cells B2 and B4 have comments, and a red triangle at the top right.

insert comment

Display a Specific Comment

You can show a comment temporarily, or make a comment stay open on the Excel spreadsheet. The steps for both methods are shown below.

Show Comment Temporarily

To show a specific comment temporarily:

  • Point to a cell that contains a pop-up comment
  • While you hover the mouse pointer over the cell, the pop-up comment stays open
  • Move the mouse pointer away from the cell, and the pop-up comment closes

show a specific comment temporarily

Keep Comment Open on Sheet

To make a specific comment stay open on the worksheet:

  1. Right-click the cell which contains the comment.
  2. Choose Show/Hide Comments

Hide the comment

Later, if you want to close a comment again, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the cell that contains the comment.
  2. In the pop-up menu, click the Hide Comment command

hide comment

Display All Comments

  1. On the Excel Ribbon, click the Review tab
  2. In the Comments group, click Show All Comments
    Note
    : All comments in all open workbooks will be displayed.
  3. To hide the comments, click the Show All Comments command again.

show all comments

Delete a Comment

If you no longer need a cell comment, you can delete it from the worksheet.

Follow these steps to delete a cell comment:

  • First, select the cell where you want to delete the comment
    • Tip: Or, select multiple cells where comments should be deleted (drag over a range of cells to select them, or select one, cell, then press the Ctrl key, and click on other cells to select them)
  • Next, right-click on any selected cell
  • In the pop-up menu, click the Delete Comment command

Comments in all selected cells are deleted.

Copy Comments

Instead of creating new comments in Excel, you can copy and paste existing comments to a new location.

To copy and paste cell comments, without the cell contents, follow these steps:

  • First, select the cell where you want to copy the comment
    • Tip: Or, select multiple cells where comments should be copied (drag over a range of cells to select them, or select one, cell, then press the Ctrl key, and click on other cells in the same row or column, to select them)
  • Next, to copy the selected cells, use the keyboard shortcut, Ctrl + C
  • After that, right-click the cell where you want to paste the copied comments
    • To paste multiple cell comments, select the cell at the top left of the location where you want to paste them
  • In the pop-up menu, click Paste Special
  • In the Paste Special dialog box that opens, in the Paste section, select the Comments option
  • Click the OK button, to past the cell comments

Paste Special dialog box

Comments from the copied cells are pasted in the new location.

Note: If multiple cells in a range were copied and pasted, the comments are pasted into cells in the same relative locations

copied cells are pasted in the new location

Format Text in Excel Comment

You can change the font, the font size, font colour and font style, for all or part of an Excel comment.

To format comment text, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the cell which contains the comment.
  2. Choose Edit Comment
  3. To format all text, click on the border of the comment shape.
    To format specific text within the comment, drag over the text to select it.
  4. Use the Font tools on the Formatting toolbar to modify the text appearance
  5. When finished, click outside the comment box.

change font format in pop-up Excel comment

Turn Comment Shadow On or Off

In the screen shot below:

  • Top comment has a thin black border
  • Bottom comment has a thin black border with a shadow

In the steps below, see how to turn that shadow on or off.

comment with shadow

Add Shadow On/Off Command

To make it easy to turn the comment shadows on or off, follow the steps below, to add a command to your Quick Access Toolbar (QAT).

  • Right-click on the QAT, and click Customize Quick Access Toolbar
  • Near the top centre, click the drop-down arrow for "Choose commands from"
  • Click on All Commands
  • Scroll down the list of command, and click on Shadow On/Off, to select it
  • Click the Add button, to move the command to the QAT
  • (Optional) Use the Up or Down arrows, to reposition the command on the QAT
  • Click the OK button, to close the window

Turn Shadow On or Off

To change the shadow on an Excel worksheet comment, follow the steps below:

  • If the comment is not showing, right-click the comment cell, and click Show/Hide Note
  • Click on the comment border, to select the comment
  • On the Quick Access Toolbar, click on the Shadow On/Off command
    • To add the Shadow On/Off command, follow the steps in the previous section

shadow on/off command

Printing Excel Comments

You can print Excel comments in 2 built-in ways:

  • print comments as displayed on the worksheet,
  • print comments at the end of the worksheet

Or, use a macro to print comments with a triangle comment indicator, or a small number, at the top right corner of the cell (details for this are in the next section)

This short video shows the steps for the two built-in ways of printing worksheet comments , and there are written steps below the video

Print comments as displayed

To print Excel comments as they are displayed on the sheet, follow these steps:

  1. On the worksheet, show the specific comments that you want printed, or show all comments, it you want all of them included.
    • Tip: If needed, move some of the comments, so key cells are visible, and not covered by comments
  2. On the Excel Ribbon, click the Page Layout tab
  3. In the Page Setup section, click the Dialog Launcher at the bottom right

page layout dialog launcher

  1. On the Sheet tab, from the Comments drop down, choose 'As displayed on sheet'.

    print comments as displayed

  2. Click OK
  3. Choose File|Print (or click the Print button)

Note: The open comments are printed with the worksheet cell contents, but the red triangles in comment cells are NOT printed.

display comments

Print comments at end of worksheet

To print Excel comments at the end of the worksheet, follow these steps:

  1. Choose File|Page Setup
  2. On the Sheet tab, from the Comments drop down, choose 'At end of sheet'.
  3. Click OK
  4. Choose File|Print (or click the Print button)

print comments

Print Comments with Triangles or Numbers

When you print a worksheet that contains comments, the comment indicators (little red triangles) are not visible.

Unless the comments are shown, there is no indication of which cells contain comments.

  • Note: There is no built-in option to change this behaviour.

As a workaround, you can use macros to mark the comment cells, before you print the worksheet.

Use one the macros linked below, to mark the comments cells with:

  • triangle shapes, like the built-in comment indicators
  • small numbers, like footnotes

The screenshots below show what each marker looks like.

Add Triangle Shapes for Comment Cell Printing

Before you print a worksheet, you can use a macro, to draw a triangle AutoShapes over the comment indicators, at the upper-right corner of the comment cell.

You can get the sample file with this macro, in the Download section below.

For the written instructions, go to the Comment Macros page.

Database

Add Numbers in Comment Cells

Another option for printing comments, is to use Excel VBA macros that:

  • add small numbers a the top right corner of the comments cells, like a footnote in the cell.
  • list the numbered comments on a separate sheet
  • remove the numbered shapes that were added to each comment cell

You can get the sample file with this macro, in the Download section below.

For the written instructions, go to the Comment Macros page.

List the numbered comments on a separate sheet

Download the Sample Files

  1. Comment Basics: Get the sample file for Excel comments - basic steps. The zipped Excel workbook is in xlsx format, and does not contain macros.
  2. Triangle Shapes on Comments: Get the sample file for printing worksheet with triangle shapes on comments. The zipped Excel workbook is in xlsm format, and contains macros. Be sure to enable macros if you want to test the comment printing macros.
  3. Numbered Comments: Get the sample file for printing numbered comments. The zipped Excel workbook is in xlsm format, and contains macros. Be sure to enable macros if you want to test the comment printing macros.

Related Tutorials

Excel Comments Tips

Excel Comments Macros

Add Comments in a Pivot Table

 

 

Last updated: April 6, 2024 12:50 PM