Shortcuts for Commenting in Excel


Commenting in Excel may seem like a minor feature, but it can play a vital role in efficient and effective collaboration when working on spreadsheets. Whether you're collaborating with a team, sharing information with colleagues, or working on complex formulas, commenting provides a way to communicate and provide context within your Excel worksheets. In this blog post, we will explore some shortcuts and strategies to help you comment more efficiently in Excel, saving you time and enhancing your spreadsheet collaboration.

Key Takeaways

  • Commenting in Excel is an important feature for efficient and effective collaboration.
  • Comments provide clarification and context within Excel worksheets.
  • Using shortcut keys can speed up comment-related tasks.
  • Comment threads are a useful feature for multi-user collaboration.
  • Formatting and customization options allow for better visibility and customization of comments.

Understanding Excel Comments

Excel comments provide a convenient way to add additional information or clarification to specific cells within a worksheet. They can greatly enhance the overall organization and understanding of a spreadsheet, especially when multiple users are collaborating on the same document. In this section, we will explore the concept of comments in Excel, their benefits, and how to effectively view and manage them.

Explain the concept of comments in Excel

Excel comments are essentially notes that can be attached to individual cells. They appear as small, red triangles in the upper-right corner of a cell, indicating that additional information is available. When a user hovers over the cell or clicks on the triangle, the comment is displayed, providing important context or explanations for the data.


A comment could be used to explain a complex formula or provide a reminder about a specific requirement for the data in a cell.

Discuss the benefits of using comments to provide clarification and context

The use of comments in Excel offers several key benefits:

  • Enhanced understanding: Comments provide additional context and clarity, ensuring that users understand the purpose and meaning behind specific data.
  • Improved collaboration: Comments enable users to communicate with each other within the spreadsheet, reducing the need for external communication channels and promoting efficient collaboration.
  • Audit trail: Comments serve as a record of decisions, explanations, and changes made to the spreadsheet, facilitating auditing and troubleshooting processes.
  • Documented knowledge: Comments capture important information that may be valuable for future users or reference, preserving institutional knowledge even if the original author is no longer available.

Mention the different ways to view and manage comments in Excel

Excel provides various methods to view and manage comments:

  • Viewing comments: To view a comment, simply hover over the cell with the comment or click on the red triangle. The comment will appear in a small pop-up box, allowing users to read the information contained.
  • Navigating through comments: When there are multiple comments in a worksheet, Excel offers a navigation feature that allows users to easily move between comments. This can be accessed by clicking on the "Previous" and "Next" buttons in the "Comments" section of the "Review" tab.
  • Editing comments: To edit a comment, right-click on the cell containing the comment and select "Edit Comment" from the context menu. This will open a text box where users can make changes or additions to the comment.
  • Deleting comments: If a comment is no longer needed, it can be deleted by right-clicking on the cell and selecting "Delete Comment" from the context menu.

By utilizing these various features, users can effectively view, navigate, edit, and delete comments within Excel, ensuring that the spreadsheet remains organized and informative.

Essential Shortcut Keys for Commenting

When working with Excel, it is important to be efficient and save time wherever possible. Using shortcut keys is an excellent way to speed up comment-related tasks, allowing you to quickly add, edit, navigate, show/hide, and delete comments. By familiarizing yourself with these essential shortcut keys, you can streamline your workflow and become more productive in Excel.

"Insert Comment" Shortcut

The Insert Comment shortcut key is a handy tool for quickly adding comments to cells. Simply select the cell where you want to add a comment and press Shift + F2. This will open a comment box where you can enter your desired comment. Once you're done, press Esc to close the comment box.

"Edit Comment" Shortcut

Modifying an existing comment is made easy with the Edit Comment shortcut key. To edit a comment, first, select the cell containing the comment. Then, press Ctrl + Shift + F2 to open the comment box in edit mode. You can now make any necessary changes to the comment. Press Esc to exit edit mode once you're done.

"Show/Hide Comments" Shortcut

The Show/Hide Comments shortcut key is incredibly useful when you want to quickly toggle the visibility of comments in your Excel worksheet. To show or hide comments, press Shift + F10. This will bring up the contextual menu for the selected cell. Use the arrow keys to navigate to the "Show/Hide Comments" option, and press Enter to toggle the visibility of comments.

"Navigate Between Comments" Shortcut

Navigating between comments in Excel can be time-consuming, especially when dealing with large datasets. The Navigate Between Comments shortcut key allows you to easily move between comments without the need for scrolling. Press Ctrl + Shift + [ to jump to the previous comment, and press Ctrl + Shift + ] to move to the next comment.

"Delete Comment" Shortcut

To remove a comment from a cell quickly, you can use the Delete Comment shortcut key. Select the cell containing the comment and press Shift + F10 to open the contextual menu. Use the arrow keys to navigate to the "Delete Comment" option, and press Enter to delete the comment.

By utilizing these essential shortcut keys for commenting in Excel, you can save valuable time and simplify your workflow. Familiarize yourself with these shortcuts, and you'll be well on your way to becoming an Excel power user.

Using the Comment Thread Feature

In recent versions of Excel, Microsoft introduced a powerful feature called comment threads that greatly enhances collaboration among multiple users. Comment threads allow users to engage in discussions, ask questions, and provide feedback within the spreadsheet itself, making it easier to track and resolve issues. In this chapter, we will explore the comment thread feature in Excel and provide a detailed guide on how to use it effectively.

Understanding the Comment Thread Feature

The comment thread feature in Excel enables users to have threaded conversations within a cell. When a comment is added to a cell, it can be expanded, collapsed, and replied to, creating a threaded discussion. This feature makes it easy for multiple users to communicate and collaborate on specific parts of the spreadsheet, ensuring that all relevant information is organized and easily accessible.

Advantages of Using Comment Threads for Multi-User Collaboration

Comment threads offer several advantages for multi-user collaboration in Excel:

  • Improved Communication: Comment threads provide a centralized space for users to discuss and clarify information, reducing the need for separate communication channels such as email or instant messaging.
  • Clear Documentation: By keeping all discussions within the spreadsheet, comment threads serve as a documented history of decisions, changes, and conversations, making it easier to trace the evolution of the spreadsheet.
  • Efficient Collaboration: With comment threads, users can easily collaborate on specific cells or ranges without the need to navigate through multiple sheets or documents. This streamlines the collaboration process and improves productivity.

Starting a Comment Thread and Replying to Comments

To start a comment thread in Excel, follow these steps:

  1. Select the cell or range where you want to add the comment.
  2. Right-click on the selected cell or range and choose "Insert Comment" from the context menu.
  3. A comment box will appear next to the cell. Type your comment and press Enter.
  4. To reply to an existing comment, click on the existing comment, and a reply box will appear. Type your reply and press Enter.

Shortcut keys specific to comment threads:

  • Ctrl+Shift+F2: Open the comment editor.
  • Ctrl+Alt+Shift+A: Show or hide all comments in the worksheet.
  • Ctrl+Alt+Shift+H: Hide or display comment indicators.

By utilizing these shortcut keys, users can quickly access the comment editor, show or hide all comments, and toggle the display of comment indicators.

Formatting and Customization Options

When it comes to commenting in Excel, there are various formatting and customization options available to make your comments more visually appealing and informative. By taking advantage of these options, you can enhance the clarity and readability of your comments, as well as make them more impactful for your audience.

Font, Size, and Color Customization

Excel allows you to personalize the font, size, and color of your comments to suit your preferences or match the formatting of your worksheet. By changing the font, you can make your comments stand out or blend in with the rest of the text. Similarly, adjusting the size of the font can help ensure your comments are easily readable. Additionally, utilizing different colors can help categorize or differentiate comments based on their content or importance.

Adding Images, Hyperlinks, or Other Objects to Comments

A comment in Excel doesn't have to be limited to just plain text. You can enrich your comments by including images, hyperlinks, or even other objects such as shapes or charts. This capability allows you to provide visual context or additional references within the comments themselves. For example, you can insert a screenshot to illustrate a specific point or include a hyperlink to provide further information.

Resizing and Moving Comments for Better Visibility

Once you've added comments to your Excel worksheet, you may find it necessary to adjust their size or position to ensure better visibility. Excel enables you to resize comments to make them larger or smaller, depending on the amount of text or content. Resizing comments can help prevent them from obstructing surrounding data or being too small to read. Additionally, you can easily move comments to a different location in your worksheet to prevent overlap or to place them closer to the relevant data.

Customizing Comment Display Settings

Besides formatting individual comments, Excel provides the option to customize the display settings for comments throughout your worksheet. This feature allows you to define how comments are shown or hidden, making it easier to manage and review large amounts of data. By adjusting the display settings, you can choose to show or hide comments based on certain criteria, such as when the associated cell is selected or when hovering over the comment indicator. This level of customization provides you with greater control over the visibility and accessibility of comments in your Excel workbook.

Best Practices for Effective Commenting

When working with Excel, it is crucial to have clear and concise comments to help you and others understand the purpose and functionality of the various cells, ranges, and formulas in your spreadsheet. By following these best practices, you can ensure that your comments are helpful and easy to understand.

Use specific references to cells, ranges, or formulas being discussed

  • Instead of saying "This cell," be specific and mention the cell reference, such as "Cell A1."
  • When commenting on a range, specify the starting and ending cells, like "Range A1:B5."
  • Refer to formulas by their full expression or by mentioning the cells they operate on. For example, "SUM(A1:A5)" or "Calculates the average of the sales in column B."

Keep comments brief and to the point

  • Avoid lengthy explanations that may overwhelm or confuse readers.
  • Focus on the essential information that helps understand the purpose or context of the cell, range, or formula.

Avoid unnecessary jargon or technical terms

  • Use language that is accessible to a wide range of users, even those who may not be familiar with specific Excel terminology.
  • Avoid acronyms or technical terms that may not be universally understood.

Use clear language and proper grammar

  • Ensure your comments are written in a clear and understandable manner.
  • Structure your sentences properly and use correct grammar to eliminate any ambiguity.

Emphasize the importance of regular maintenance and updates to comments

  • Comments should not be static but should be regularly reviewed and updated as necessary.
  • If changes are made to the spreadsheet, ensure that the comments accurately reflect the updated information.
  • Regular maintenance of comments helps keep the spreadsheet organized and prevents confusion or misunderstanding.


In this blog post, we discussed various shortcuts for commenting in Excel that can greatly enhance your spreadsheet collaboration experience. Recapitulating, we learned about the Shift + F2 shortcut to quickly add and edit comments, the Ctrl + Alt + M shortcut to navigate between comments, and the Ctrl + Shift + O shortcut to show or hide all comments at once. By implementing these tips and shortcuts, you can significantly improve your commenting efficiency and save valuable time. Efficient commenting not only streamlines communication but also boosts productivity in collaborative projects. So, why not start using these shortcuts and make the most out of your Excel commenting experience?

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