Software optimize

Change the shape of Excel's comment box

Excel displays comments in a square box. Using AutoShapes, you can change that square to any number of shapes.

Comments are an interesting and useful feature, allowing you to attach additional information to a cell. They're easy to insert, edit, print, and delete. By default, they're square.

june2008blog3fig1r.jpg

You can change the shape of comments using Excel's AutoShapes:

  1. Select the cell with the attached comment.
  2. Press Shift + F2 to edit the comment.
  3. Click the comment's border -- the border appears to be a series of diagonal slashes. When you click the border, it changes to a bunch of small dots.
  4. Click the Draw button on the Drawing toolbar and choose Change AutoShapes.
  5. Then, select one of the AutoShape categories from the resulting submenu.
  6. Next, choose one of the shapes from the resulting palette.
  7. If the new AutoShape isn't large enough, use the handles to resize it.

june2008blog3fig2r.jpg

june2008blog3fig3r.jpg

At first, this might seem like a neat visual trick, but it's limited:

  • As yet, I've not found a way to reset the comment shape. Ctrl + Z will undo the change, if you do so immediately. Otherwise, you must repeat the process and specify a square AutoShape.
  • You can't change multiple comments at the same time.
  • This technique doesn't change the shape of subsequent or existing comments -- only the selected comment changes.
  • The comment's text doesn't automatically adjust to the new shape, so be careful which shape you choose.

june2008blog3fig4r.jpg

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

15 comments
asyousay
asyousay

Why did they change it - seems a whole lot harder. I use this all the time, just change the shape to suit whatever I'm typing at the time. I came looking for the 'no user name' answer and didn't really find it. As one comment said - the line is wasted anyway, still have to select and delete to start typing from top - even if it just a space. This is so irritating. If you have a cluster of comments that need to be read together - eg one per row - you have to get rid of that space or all you see is blanks and have to click individually. That bloomin auto inserted name. Another 'feature' that just makes things harder.

bros3n
bros3n

is there a way to do this in excel 2007?

ssharkins
ssharkins

The 2007 equivalent for the Change AutoShapes command is Edit Shape. However, it's on the Format tab, which is available only when you've selected a shape. So far, I've not figured out away to access Edit Shape to reshape a comment.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Susan, is there a way to stop my bolded name from appearing by default at the top of a new comment? I'm the only one who inserts comments in my spreadsheets, so tracking comments by author is unnecessary for me. I have to delete the name each time I insert a new comment, and also do a CTRL-B to turn off the Bold attribute. Thanks.

mcadamshi
mcadamshi

I'm having difficulty following these directions in Excel 2007 - can you help please?

ssharkins
ssharkins

I've already posted a response to that question -- I haven't found a way to access the Edit AutoShape command on the Drawing tab while selecting a comment -- the Drawing tab is only available when you select an AutoShape. :(

Marshwiggle
Marshwiggle

You can remove bold from (and change the font for) the body of the comment by changing the properties for Tool Tips: Right-click desktop -> Display Properties -> Appearance tab -> Advanced button. However, your user name will still be displayed in bold. You can change the name in Tools -> Options -> General, but if you delete it, Excel will just substitute your Logon ID.

skyman998
skyman998

Go to the office button and click the excel options button Click customize Go to the office button and click the excel options button Choose commands from select the "all commands" option Click on the "edit shape" title and add it to quick access toolbar, then exit options Select the cell with the attached comment Press Shift + F2 to edit the comment Click the comment?s border ? the border appears to be a series of diagonal slashes, when you click the border, it changes from diagonal lines to a bunch of small dots Click on quick access button "edit shape" Choose the shape required Job done ;o)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'd already discovered changing my name; if I replace it with a space, then I don't get the logon ID. Unfortunately, bold is already disabled for Tool Tips, so I don't know why I'm still getting it.

jaleahmad
jaleahmad

Your are a genius Skyman998! Thanks to you.

ssharkins
ssharkins

I agree -- I haven't used it myself, but it's cool that you can do it.

ssharkins
ssharkins

You know, that's a lot more work than earlier versions. Thanks for the instructions!

AtCollege
AtCollege

This is very cool. I don't know when I would use it, but it's good to have in my arsenal of bling-blings. Thanks skyman998.

Marshwiggle
Marshwiggle

You're ahead of me on the name bit. I tried replacing my name w/ a space and, like you, I didn't get the Logon ID, but I still got the colon, so as long as the first line is wasted w/ that anyway, I restored my user name. As for bold being disabled in the Tool Tips, I can't begin to venture a guess. I just added it, and got bold comments (the user name is bold regardless), then removed it and got non-bold comments again. Could be a version issue? (I use Office 2000 at home and 2003 at work.) Or a theme thing? (I use customize Windows Classic to maximize utility and minimize pretty.)