Section 21.2. Using Comments

21.2. Using Comments

Comments are the simplest of Excel's collaboration features. Excel displays comments in a floating yellow box that points to a single cell (as shown in Figure 21-1). Place whatever descriptive text you want inside the comment box. For example, you can use a comment to flag an error, raise a question, make a suggestion, or praise a particularly brilliant formula.

The beauty of comments is that you're free to include as much information as you want without modifying the worksheet data. For that reason, comments work perfectly when you're sending a workbook out for review. For example, an employee can send an expense report to a manager, and the manager can add feedback using comments without altering the original information. Once the manager sends the workbook back, the employee can then decide whether to heed the comments and make some changes, keep the comments for later consideration, or just remove them altogether.

Figure 21-1. This worksheet includes a single comment attached to cell B3. You can clearly see the arrow that connects the floating comment box to cell B3. Additionally, there's a tiny red triangle in the top-right corner of the cell that indicates it has an attached comment.

21.2.1. Inserting a Comment

Every workbook can include thousands of comments. The only limitation is that each individual cell can have only one attached comment.

To create a new comment, just follow these steps:

  1. Move to the cell where you want to place the comment.

    Every comment is attached to a single cell in a worksheet. You can move the comment to any location you want after you create it, but it always points to the same cell (using a long arrow).

  2. Select Insert Comment.

    A new comment box appears next to the cell. Excel fills in your name on the first line, and positions the cursor inside the text box so that you can start typing.

    Note: Excel automatically uses the name that it has stored for you. You can edit this part of the comment, but rather than change the name every time you add a new comment, it's far easier to change your name information in Excel, as explained on Section 21.2.
  3. Enter the text for your comment.

    You can space your comment out over multiple lines by pressing Enter to jump to the next line. The comment box scrolls down if you enter more text than can fit in the visible area.

  4. When you're finished entering the comment text, click the original cell to return to the worksheet, or press Esc twice.

    Figure 21-1 shows an example of a worksheet with a single comment.

21.2.2. Fine-Tuning Comments

Once you've created a comment, you can manipulate it the same way that you can manipulate other floating objects like charts and graphics. To start off, click the comment box to select it (you'll see resizing handles appear around the box). You can then perform the following tasks :

  • Move the comment box . It's quite likely that the place where the comment box first appears isn't exactly where you want it. For example, the comment might obscure important information on the worksheet. Fortunately, you can easily drag the comment out of the way. Just move the mouse pointer over the border of the comment so that it changes into a four-way resize arrow, and then drag the comment box to its new location. Excel automatically adjusts the arrow that connects the comment box to the original cell.

  • Resize the comment box . To resize a comment, click one of the resizing handles, and drag the box's edge or corner. (The resizing handles look like circles at the edges of each corner and at the middle of each side of the comment box.) One reason you might want to resize a comment box is to enlarge it so it can show all the comment text at once. Even though you can scroll through comment box text using the cursor, it's not always obvious that some of the text is out of sight because the comment box doesn't show any scroll bars.

  • Delete the comment box . To delete a comment, click the border of the comment box to select the whole box, and press Delete. Alternately, you can right-click the cell that has the attached comment, and choose Delete Comment from the pop-up menu.

Ink Annotations

If you're lucky enough to be using a Tablet PCthe ultra - trendy handheld computer gadget that lets you write directly on its screenyou have another way to annotate worksheets. You can scrawl your notes or circle important areas by drawing on the Tablet PC's screen (using the Tablet PC pen, of course). This is known as an ink annotation .

To create an ink annotation, choose Insert Ink Annotations. When the Ink Annotations toolbar appears, you can choose a pen color and unleash your inner graffiti artist by drawing wherever you please on the worksheet. If you don't see the Ink Annotations option, you aren't using a Tablet PC, and this feature isn't available.

Tip: To delete multiple comments at once, select all the cells that have the attached comments, and select Edit Clear Comments.

You can also format the text in a comment box. Often, you'll take this step to make your comment stand out (by enlarging or bolding the font) or to fit more text in (by shrinking the font). You might also use a specific color if you know that multiple reviewers will add comments to the same worksheet, and you want to be able to distinguish the comments from different authors at a glance.

To format a comment, select the text you want to format, right-click it, and then choose Format Comment from the shortcut menu. A Format Comment dialog box appears with a single Font tab that has all the options you need for changing the font, font style, font size , and color. Click OK to apply your changes. Figure 21-2 shows a couple of examples.

Figure 21-2. Formatting helps you tweak all or a portion of your comment text. You might use it to highlight in boldface a piece of important information in a comment (like the student ID in Rita's comment or the percentage in Janet's comment). Or, it might just help distinguish the comments from different reviewers.

Tip: If you're already acquainted with Excel's formatting toolbar (Section 4.3.1), you can format comments even faster. Just select the comment text you want to change, and then select a new text color, font, or size directly from the drop-down lists in the toolbar.

21.2.3. Navigating Comments

When you first add a comment, it springs onto the worksheet in full view. However, if more reviewers continue to add more and more comments, there can get to be so many comments that they obscure each otheror even important worksheet data. In this case, Excel lets you hide comments, tucking them away safely out of sight.

To hide a comment, you need the help of the Reviewing toolbar. To show this toolbar, select View Toolbars Reviewing. Figure 21-3 dissects each button on the toolbar.

Figure 21-3. The Reviewing toolbar helps you navigate through a large thicket of comments. You can easily hide comments that don't interest you or jump from one comment to another. The Reviewing toolbar also contains some buttons for change tracking, which is discussed on Section 21.3.

Using the Reviewing toolbar, you can do the following tasks:

  • Hide a comment . Click the Show/Hide Comment button to hide the comment in the current cell. The red triangle remains in the top-right corner of the cell, letting you know that the cell contains an attached comment. To take a quick look at a hidden comment, just position your cursor over the cell to make the comment box appear. The comment box remains visible as long as you're hovering over the cell.

  • Show a comment . To show a comment you've hidden, click the same Show/Hide button in the Reviewing toolbar. Comments always return to their previous position.

  • Hide all comments . Use this option to hide all the comments in the whole workbook. You can then show just the comments that interest you.

  • Show all comments . Use this option to reveal all the comments that are currently hidden.

  • Step through your comments . You can use the Previous Comment and Next Comment buttons to jump from one comment to another. This technique gives you a great way to review all the comments in a worksheet. When you click Next Comment, Excel scans the worksheet starting from the current cell and moves to the right, one cell at a time. If Excel doesn't find any comments in the current row, it scans the next row from left to right, starting in the first column. When Excel finds a comment, it stops the search and selects the comment.

Note: If you use the Next Comment or Previous Comment buttons and Excel finds a hidden comment, it automatically unhides that comment and selects it.

21.2.4. Printing Comments

Excel's standard behavior is to ignore all comments when it prints a worksheet. Your printed document won't show the comment text or even indicate that a cell has a comment.

If you'd like a printed record of your comments, Excel gives you two options:

  • You can print the visible comments on your worksheet. In this case, Excel draws the graphical comment boxes in the printout exactly as they appear, potentially obscuring other worksheet information. Hidden comments don't show up.

  • You can print all the comments on a separate page. In this case, Excel creates a list of comments. Each entry in the list indicates the cell reference, and the comment text.

To change the option you're using, select File Page Setup and choose the Sheet tab. Then, make a selection from the Comments list box. You can choose "None" (the default), "At end of sheet" (which creates a separate comment page), or "As displayed on sheet" (which shows the graphical comment boxes). Figure 21-4 compares your options.

Figure 21-4. Top : Here are two different ways to print comments in Excel. The top example shows the result of the "As displayed on sheet" option, which prints only the currently visible comments and may obscure worksheet data.
Bottom : Here's the result of the "At end of sheet" option, which prints a separate comment page that's useful for at-a-glance review.

Note: Excel doesn't let you print just the comment page. If you choose "At end of sheet," you must print the comments page and the worksheet data.

Excel. The Missing Manual
Excel 2010: The Missing Manual
ISBN: 1449382355
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 185

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