It’s quick and easy to create help messages using Excel’s 2002/2003’s Data Validation feature, as long as your help message is 250 words or less. If you need to write a help message that exceeds this limit, such as a mini-manual with examples, you can create a text box that will appear when the user clicks on a “help” button in the toolbar. Follow these steps:

1. Right-click any toolbar and select Drawing.

2. Click the text box button and click and drag it in your worksheet to create a text box as large as you need to enter your help text.

3. Enter and format your help text.

4. Click anywhere outside your textbox and press [Alt][F8].

5. In the Macro Name box, enter ToggleHelpText.

6. Click Create.

7. Enter the following code at the prompt, all on one line:

ActiveSheet.TextBoxes.Visible =Not ActiveSheet.TextBoxes.Visible

8. Press [Alt]Q.

9. Go to Tools | Customize.

10. Under the Categories list, scroll to and select Macros.

11. Click and drag the Custom Button to a toolbar.

12. Right-click the Custom Button and select Assign Macro.

13. Click ToggleHelpText and then click OK.

14. Click Close.

By clicking the Custom Button, users can get help when they need it.

Note: This tip applies to Excel 2002/2003.

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