Excel: Add a ToolTip to a Cell to Guide the Person Using the Workbook

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Problem: Excel offers all sorts of ToolTips to help understand the ribbon icons. It would be cool if I could add a ToolTip to a cell.

Strategy: You can easily add an informative ToolTip to any cell. The ToolTip will appear when someone selects the cell. Follow these steps:

  1. Move the cell pointer to the cell. From the ribbon, choose Data, Data Validation. In the Data Validation dialog, select the Input Message tab.
  2. On the Input Message tab, type a title for the ToolTip. In the Input Message area, type instructions for the person filling out the worksheet.

  1. ToolTips provide instant help.

  2. Write the cell ToolTip on the Input Message tab.

    Results: When you move the cell pointer to that cell, an informative ToolTip will appear.

  3. Help appears for an input cell.

    Additional Details: This is an innovative use for the Validation command. You are not actually specifying anything in particular in Allow dropdown, but merely using one of the auxiliary settings in order to have the tool tip display. The validation input message only appears when the cell is selected and might be slightly preferable to cell comments since they will not litter the spreadsheet with tiny red triangles. For information on cell comments, see "œLeave Helpful Notes with Cell Comments" on page 545.