Comments are an easy way to attach information to your data. Unfortunately, they often block data in adjacent cells. You can hide them, but that’s counter-productive. Still, having comments pop up as you browse a spreadsheet can be annoying. One easy-to-implement solution is to make the comment’s background transparent. You’ll see the comment’s text and the underlying values. It can be a bit of a mish-mask sometimes, but if the default format annoys you, but you need to keep comments enabled, it’s a reasonable trade-off. To make a comment’s background transparent, do the following:

  1. Open the comment in edit mode by selecting the cell in question and clicking Edit on the Reviewing menu.
  2. Click the comment box’s edge. Don’t click inside the comment text; you must click the box’s edge. You’ll know you’ve done it correctly if the handle border changes.
  3. Choose Comment from the Format menu.
  4. Click the Colors and Lines tab.
  5. Move the Transparency slider or spin control to choose an appropriate setting: 0% displays a solid background; 100% displays no background.

The only drawback is you must format comments individually. Selecting multiple cells before changing this format doesn’t work.