Changing the Comment Indicator Color

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 13, 2017)

Francois wonders if it is possible to change the color of the triangle that appears in the upper-right corner of a cell when there is a comment associated with the cell. The triangle is red, by default, but Francois would like it to be a different color that is easier for him to see.

There are some things that, it seems, are simply hard-coded into Excel and cannot be changed. The color of the comment indicator is one of those items. Even playing with the various color settings in Windows had no effect on the indicators.

This has been an issue that has been asked about and discussed for years in the Excel community. One potential workaround is presented by MVP Debra Dagliesh at this page:

http://www.contextures.com/xlcomments03.html#Indicator

The solution presented there was actually designed for printing. (Excel doesn't print comment indicators when you print a worksheet, but you may want indicators printed.) The macro that Debra presents can be easily modified so that the graphic used is any color desired.

Of course, the drawback to such an approach is that it adds a graphic to your worksheet for each comment you have. If you have lots of comments in the worksheet, you'll end up having lots of graphics. In addition, the graphics may not "stay put" as you edit the worksheet, adding and deleting cells. If you add or delete comments, then you'll also need to delete graphics (Debra provides a macro to do this) and rerun the macro to add graphics back.

Another potential option is to use a macro to color the background of any cell that contains a comment. The following macro looks at whatever cells you have selected and then changes the color of any cell containing a comment.

Sub ColorComments()
    Dim commentCell As Range
    On Error GoTo ErrorHandler 'Deal with empty selection

    Selection.SpecialCells(xlCellTypeComments).Select
    On Error GoTo 0
    For Each commentCell In Selection.Cells
        commentCell.Interior.ColorIndex = 36
    Next
    Range("A1").Select
    Exit Sub
ErrorHandler:
   ' Error Handler is deliberately empty
End Sub

The drawback to this macro is that it is not easy to "unmark" any cells if comments are removed. You'll also need to rerun the macro as you add new comments to your worksheet.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3498) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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