An alternative to Excel comments

Use Excel's data validation feature to share meaningful information about specific cells with users.

You probably know that you can display information about a cell or its contents by inserting a comment. Simply select the cell and choose Comment from the Insert menu or click Insert Comment on the Reviewing toolbar. Excel will display the comment when you move the mouse over the cell. However, the hovering issue annoys some users because it blocks adjacent data. If you find this display behavior annoying, you might want to look at data validation. This feature lets you display a meaningful message to the user when you select a cell. To enter a data validation text message, do the following:

  1. Select the cell.
  2. Choose Validation from the Data menu.
  3. Click the Input Message tab
  4. Enter your title and message text and click OK.
Now, you can hover over the cell all you want but you won't see the message text. Displaying the message will block adjacent data, but only after you select the cell. Keep in mind that you're usurping a property of the data validation feature and doing so might have consequences:
  • If you decide you need to use validation to limit data entry, you'll probably want to replace the Input Message text with more appropriate validation text.
  • Using this feature in this way can be a bit confusing to others updating your workbook. You'll just have to decide whether the potential for confusion is worth the trade-off or document your reasons clearly.
  • There's no built-in¬†method for printing Input Message text, whereas it's easy to print Comment text.