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.


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.



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.



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.

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