Excel Comments and Notes:
How to Add, Edit, and Delete

🖋️ By Kasper Langmann, Certified Microsoft Office Specialist. 📅 Updated on August 29, 2023.

Excel comments and notes are very useful in adding information to a cell without changing the data itself or the format of the worksheet✍️

Amazingly, we can use Comments and Notes on a whole new level with the recent Microsoft Excel updates🙌

Now, you can use Comments to have a conversation or discussion with other users working on the same workbook. You can express your thoughts, make corrections and ask questions about the data without having to email your co-workers back and forth.

The old version of comments (now called Notes) is useful to annotate important descriptions and explanations about certain data.

It’s awesome and easy!

Download this free practice workbook so you can tag along 😊

How to add comments in Excel

In 2019 Comments have changed! Comments can now be used for having a conversation or discussion with other users working on the same workbook.

This allows you and other users to reply back and forth in the workbook forming a comment thread you can always go back to read on. It’s like chatting in Excel. Awesome, right? 👍

Microsoft Excel News comments and notes feature.

To start a conversation 💬 with your co-workers in an Excel workbook, just add a comment. You can add a comment using the Standard Menu option. Here’s how.

  1. Click the cell you want to comment on.
  2. Click the Review Tab in the Excel Ribbon above.
  3. Click New Comment.
Insert comments using the Review Tab
  1. Type your comment. You can also mention @someone to address this comment to them.
  2. Click the Post button or Press “Ctrl” + “Enter” to post.
Insert comment and post.

You can’t see your comment, but it’s there👀

See that small purple comment icon in the upper right corner of the cell? It’s the sign that a comment has been inserted in that cell.

Your comment is added.

When you hover your mouse pointer in that cell, you will see your comment pop up.

Hover your mouse pointer in the cell to see your comment.

Add a comment using the Right-click option

The second way is the fastest way ⚡ to add a comment without clicking on the Review tab. You can add a comment using the right-click menu option.

  1. Right-click the cell and choose “New Comment
Right-click then choose insert comment
  1. Type your comment.
  2. Click “Post” or click outside the comment box when done.
Type comment and post.

See? It’s easy as 1-2-3!

You have started a conversation in that cell. Others can now reply to continue the discussion. They can right-click the cell and choose Reply to Comment.

Right-click then choose Reply to Comment

You can also reply to the comment by resting your cursor on the threaded comments, then click on the Reply box.

Type a reply in the reply box

Just as our conversations start with a simple “Hello”👋, start a conversation in Excel by adding a comment💬

How to edit comments

Now, what if you want to edit your comments in the thread? Say, you want to edit misspelled words or supply the needed information requested🤔

Well, to edit a comment in a thread, follow the steps below.

  1. Rest your cursor over the cell and then on that specific comment in the thread.
  2. Click the Edit comment button.
Choose edit comment option.
  1. Edit your comment.
  2. Click the check box ✅ to post the comment.
Edit a comment then post comment.

Keep in mind that others can edit your comments in a thread especially if they have edit access to the workbook you are all collaborating on.

Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist

How to delete comments

To delete a comment, right-click the cell and then click “Delete Comment“.

Click the delete comment.

Please be reminded that this will delete the whole comment thread in that cell.

You can also delete the thread this way.

  1. Click on the cell to see the comment thread.
  2. Click the three dots button in the top right corner of the first comment for More Thread Action.
  3. Select the “Delete thread” option.
Delete threaded comments.

Delete a comment in the thread

If you just want to delete a certain comment in the thread, you can do that as well.

  1. Rest your cursor over the cell then over that specific comment you want to delete.
  2. Click the More Thread Action button.
  3. Select “Delete comment
Delete a comment

Only a specific comment in the thread is deleted.

How to show comments

Do you want to see all the comments in a worksheet? It’s counterproductive to click and hover on the cells one by one. Why do that when you can see and read all the comments all at once in these easy steps.

Here’s how👇

  1. Go to the Review tab.
  2. Click the “Show Comments” button.
Show all the comments

The Comments pane will appear on the right side of the workbook. In this Comments Pane, you can see all the comment threads added to the worksheet.

All the comments can be seen.

When you click on the specific thread, you will know exactly which cell the comment thread is inserted in. This is really helpful for you to focus and help in the discussion😊

Resolve or Reopen Threads

When the discussion is done, you can mark that specific thread as a resolved discussion.

To resolve a discussion,

  1. Rest your cursor over the cell to see the comment thread.
  2. Click More Thread Actions.
  3. Select “Resolve thread“.
Resolve threaded comments.

When you mark the discussion as resolved✅, the threaded comments will still be viewable, but you can no longer make other additions to it unless it’s reopened.

You can reopen a thread by clicking the Reopen icon in the topmost part of the thread.

Reopen a thread

Only the one who has write access to the workbook can resolve or reopen the threaded comments.

Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist

Comments vs Notes

This new version of Excel Comments allows us to have discussions with other users making work more collaborative and productive.

The old version of comments is now called Notes. Notes are still a useful Excel feature allowing us to add relevant information without changing the data or format of the worksheet.

True to its name, adding notes allows us to gain a better understanding of certain data by annotating texts like descriptions or explanations about the data.

Here are how comments and notes differ from each other👇

comments vs notes

How to use notes

Notes are used for annotation texts you can add to a cell.

Basically, “NOTES” is the new name for the old version of comments. You can type any annotation text in the notes box but they do not have a reply button.

  1. To add a note, click “New Note” on the right-click menu.
Add a note
  1. Type in your note then click outside the notes box to save the note.
Type your notes

You can’t see your note, but it’s there👀

See that red triangle in the upper right corner of the cell? It’s the sign that a note has been inserted in that cell.

Sign that your note is added to the cell.

When you hover your mouse pointer over that cell, your note pops up.

See your added note

You can also add a note using the Standard menu option. Here’s how.

  1. Click the cell.
  2. In the Ribbon, click the Review Tab.
  3. Click the “Notes
  4. Select the “New Note” option.
Add note using review tab option

All you have to do is to type your notes in the box and save it by clicking outside the box.

That’s it – Now what?

Congratulations! 🥳

Let me just comment on your progress: You have done a great job!

Comments and Notes in Excel are used for different purposes but for the same goal. That is to better understand the data in our workbook and add relevant information as well without having to change the data or format in the worksheet.

Excel comments and notes allow us to work collaboratively and productively🚀

If you want to work more productively, Excel can surely help you with its built-in functions that will save you a lot of work. Functions like the SUM, AVERAGE, and COUNT functions.

You can learn all of these when you join my free 30-minute online course!

Other resources

If you like the Excel comment feature, you should also learn about CONDITIONAL FORMATTING💡 This is deemed one of the most useful Excel features that enable you to make sense of your data and spot important ones all the while making your data visually appealing.

Want to find data in a spreadsheet instead? Read about the FIND function here.

I hope this helps you! Take care👋

Frequently asked questions

Got any specific questions about Excel’s comments and notes?

Read below and you may find your answer.

When you can’t add comments in Excel, try to Press “Shift” + “F2” as a workaround to insert comments.

There is still no way to insert comments to multiple cells at once.

However, you can copy a comment and paste it into multiple cells by selecting the commented cell > Press Ctrl + C > Select the range of cells you want to have the same comments > Click on the Comments button in the Paste Special dialog box > Click OK.