Excel: Force Some Comments to ALWAYS Be Visible to Provide a Help System

This page is an advertiser-supported excerpt of the book, Power Excel 2010-2013 from MrExcel - 567 Excel Mysteries Solved. If you like this topic, please consider buying the entire e-book.


Problem: I'm sending out a worksheet to managers and division vice presidents in order to get their budget for next year. I need to include specific instructions for many of the cells in the worksheet.

Strategy: There are two primary techniques you can do this: cell comments and color-coding.

To use cell comments, for each comment you want to display 100% of the time, select the cell and choose Review, Show/Hide Comment. Alternatively, right-click the cell and choose Show Comment. This will force those comments to be always visible.

  1. Toggle individual comments on or off.

    To use color coding, you can make all comments meant for managers green, and you can make the vice presidents' instructions blue. When managers and vice presidents open the file, they will have an easy-to-follow visual road map through their budget worksheet.

    Additional Details: By default, comments will not be printed. You can choose either of two settings to control the printing of comments by following these steps:

    1. From the Page Layout tab, choose the dialog launcher icon in the lower-right corner of the Page Setup group.
    2. In the Page Setup dialog, go to the Sheet tab and use the Comments dropdown to control the printing of comments.

  2. Control the printing of comments.

    If you select As Displayed on Sheet from the Comments dropdown, the comment boxes will print in the size and format you have set up for all the displayed comments. This setting will not print comments that are hidden with only the red triangle visible. To make effective use of this setting, you would have to make a few comments visible, as described in this topic.

    If you select At End of Sheet from the Comments dropdown, the comments will print in a separate section at the end of the printout. The only drawback to this method is that the comment printout indicates that a certain comment is attached to cell A50. Unless you print row and column headings (see "œDebug Using a Printed Spreadsheet" on page 545), there is no way for the reader of the printed document to know which value on the sheet is located in cell A50.


For more resources for Microsoft Excel