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Microsoft Excel: Force Certain Comments To Be Always Visible To Provide A Help System To Users Of Your Spreadsheet

written by: Mr Excel•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 7/6/2011

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

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    Strategy:

    1) Use cell comments. For each comment that you want to display 100 percent of the time, right-click the cell and choose Show Comment, as shown in Fig. 1164. This will force those comments to be always visible.

    Note: Click any image for a larger view of that figure.

    2) Use color coding. Make all comments meant for managers green and the vice presidents’ instructions blue. When a manager or vice president opens the file, they will have an easy-to-follow visual roadmap through their budget worksheet.

    Additional Information: By default, comments will not be printed. There are two alternative settings to control the printing of comments. From the File – Page Setup dialog, go to the fourth tab, Sheet, as shown in Fig. 1165.

    Use the comments dropdown to control the printing of comments. If you select As Displayed on Sheet, then the comment boxes will print in the size and format that you have set up for all of the displayed comments, as shown in Fig. 1166. This setting will not print comments that are hidden with only the red triangle visible.

    If you select At End of Sheet, the comments will print in a separate section at the end of the printout, as shown in Fig. 1167. The only drawback with this method is that the comment printout indicates that a certain comment is attached to cell A50. Unless you print row and column headings, there is no way for the reader of the printed document to know which value on the sheet is located in cell A50.

    Summary: Use the Show Comments feature to keep comments visible in order to provide an on-screen guide for someone who has to use your spreadsheet.

    Commands Discussed: Show Comment; File – Page Setup – Sheet

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    Images

    Fig. 1164Fig. 1165Fig. 1166Fig. 1167