Today we are going to take a brief look at using comments on Excel worksheets. Comments were available in earlier versions of Excel, but the screen shots are from the 2010 version.
We’ve all sent a spreadsheet (or two or three!) and typed that lengthy email explaining the details. Or wasted a paragraph explaining what a cell or formula means. Maybe you have a workbook that only you use, and you have one worksheet with text explaining how a cell works or what to enter. You may even be working with other people and want to make your comments visible to the group. Excel comments are a great tool for adding notes to a worksheet.
In the sample below, we list hours worked and use a formula to calculate how many hours were overtime. We want to let users know that they just have to change the weekly hours cell if the standard hours change, no need to change each formula. We also give a “heads-up” comment so that the user knows that if there was no overtime, the cell will be blank.
Here is the worksheet with one of the formula cells selected. We can determine from the formula how it works, but wouldn’t it be nice to add a comment for everyone?
Here is the same worksheet with two comments, one explaining how to change the standard hours and one explaining the formula.
To work with comments, go to the Review tab on your ribbon. There are buttons to add and delete comments, cycle through each comment and even choose how they display on your screen. The Comments group includes the ability to show all comments or hide individual comments. “Show All Comments” is highlighted below and that is why we saw all the comments in the above screenshot.
To add a new comment, click on the cell that needs a comment. Once you enter a comment, that cell will have a small red triangle in the top right corner to indicate there is a comment available. You will see that mark even if you hide all comments. If a comment is hidden, you can move your mouse over it to see the comment temporarily. The Previous and Next functions also work even if comments are hidden.
Once a comment is visible, you can resize it with the “handles” or even move it. See the comment above that is farther away from the cell.
To edit a comment, just click on it and start typing. Another way to edit, delete or show/hide an individual comment is to right click on the marked cell.
To include comments when you print, head over to the Page Layout tab and the Page Setup group. Click on the small expand button. Then choose the “Sheet” tab. You have three options for how they print. Only visible comments will be included on your printout. This setting will be saved when you save the workbook.