Tips for Using Excel Comments

By Greg Harvey

You can add text comments to particular cells in an Excel 2019 worksheet. Comments act kind of like electronic pop-up versions of sticky notes. For example, you can add a comment to yourself in Excel to verify a particular figure before printing the worksheet or to remind yourself that a particular value is only an estimate (or even to remind yourself that it’s your anniversary and to pick up a little something special for your spouse on the way home!).

In addition to using notes to remind yourself of something you’ve done or that remains to be done, you can also use a comment to mark your current place in a large worksheet. You can then use the comment’s location to quickly find your starting place the next time you work with that Excel worksheet.

Adding a comment to a cell in Excel 2019

To add a comment to a cell in Excel 2019, follow these steps:

  1. Move the cell pointer to or click the cell to which you want to add the comment.
  2. Click the New Comment command button on the Ribbon’s Review tab (Alt+RC) or the Comment button on the Insert tab (Alt+NC2) or press Shift+F2.

    A new text box appears. This text box contains the name of the user as it appears in the User Name text box on the General tab in the Excel Options dialog box (Alt+FT) and the insertion point located at the beginning of a new line right below the user name.

    cell comment Excel 2019
    Adding a new comment to a cell in the Comment box.
  3. Type the text of your comment in the text box that appears.
  4. When you finish entering the comment text, click somewhere on the worksheet outside of the text box.

    Excel marks the location of a comment in a cell by adding a tiny triangle in the upper-right corner of the cell. (This triangular indicator appears in red on a color monitor.)

  5. To display the comment in a cell, position the thick white cross mouse or Touch pointer somewhere in the cell with the note indicator.

Comments in review in Excel 2019

When you have a workbook with sheets that contain a whole bunch of comments, you probably won’t want to take the time to position the mouse pointer over each of its cells in order to read each one. For those times, you need to click the Show All Comments command button on the Ribbon’s Review tab (or press Alt+RA). When you click Show All Comments on the Review tab, Excel displays all the comments in the workbook.

comments in review Excel 2019
Use the Show All Comments button on the Review tab to review the comments added to a worksheet.

With the Review tab selected in the Ribbon, you can then move back and forth from comment to comment by clicking its Next and Previous command buttons in the Comments group (or by pressing Alt+RN and Alt+RV, respectively). After you finish reviewing the comments in your workbook, you can hide their display by clicking the Comments button next to the Share button on the line with the Ribbon tabs or the Show All Comments command button on the Review tab of the Ribbon or pressing Alt+RH a second time.

Editing comments in an Excel 2019 worksheet

To edit the contents of a comment (whether or not it’s one you created), select it by clicking the Next or Previous command button in the Comments group of the Review tab and then click the Edit Comment button (which replaces New Comment) or right-click the cell with the comment and select Edit Comment from the cell’s shortcut menu. You can also do this by selecting the cell with the comment and then pressing Shift+F2.

To change the placement of a comment in relation to its cell, you select the comment by clicking somewhere on it and then position the mouse pointer on one of the edges of its text box. When a four-headed arrow appears at the tip of the mouse or Touch pointer, you can drag the text box to a new place in the worksheet. When you release the mouse button, finger, or stylus, Excel redraws the arrow connecting the comment’s text box to the note indicator in the upper-right corner of the cell.

To change the size of a comment’s text box, you select the comment, position the mouse or Touch pointer on one of its sizing handles, and then drag in the appropriate direction (away from the center of the box to increase its size or toward the center to decrease its size). When you release the mouse button finger, or stylus, Excel redraws the comment’s text box with the new shape and size. When you change the size and shape of a comment’s text box, Excel automatically wraps the text to fit in the new shape and size.

To change the font of the comment text, select the text of the comment (by selecting the comment for editing and then dragging through the text), right-click the text box, and then click Format Comment on its shortcut menu (or you can press Ctrl+1). On the Font tab of the Format Cells dialog box that appears, you can then use the options to change the font, font style, font size, or color of the text displayed in the selected comment.

To delete a comment, select the cell with the comment in the worksheet or click the Next or Previous command buttons on the Review tab of the Ribbon until the comment is selected and then click the Delete command button in the Comments group (Alt+RD). Excel removes the comment along with the note indicator from the selected cell.

You can also delete all comments in the selected range by clicking Clear Comments from the Clear button’s drop-down menu (the one with the eraser icon in the Editing group) on the Home tab of the Ribbon (Alt+HEM).

Printing comments in Excel 2019

When printing a worksheet, you can print comments along with worksheet data by selecting the At End of Sheet or As Displayed on Sheet option on the Comments drop-down list on the Sheet tab of the Page Setup dialog box. Open this dialog box by clicking the Dialog Box launcher in the lower-right corner of the Page Setup group on the Ribbon’s Page Layout tab (Alt+PSO).

Check out these top 10 features in Excel 2019 for more information.