Software

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

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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?

susan_harkins
susan_harkins

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?

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