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:
- Open the comment in edit mode by selecting the cell in question and clicking Edit on the Reviewing menu.
- 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.
- Choose Comment from the Format menu.
- Click the Colors and Lines tab.
- 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.
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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.