Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Viewing Comments.

Viewing Comments

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated June 24, 2023)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Excel allows you to add comments to the cells in your workbook. At some point you may want to view your comments. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Display the Excel Options dialog box. (In Excel 2007 click the Office button and then click Excel Options. In Excel 2010 and later versions display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click Advanced at the left of the dialog box.
  3. Scroll down until you see the Display section. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The advanced options of the Excel Options dialog box.

  5. Select from the three radio buttons in the For Cells with Comments portion of the dialog box. (The meanings of these settings are described shortly.)
  6. Click OK to close the dialog box.

There are three possible settings for comments (see step 4). The three radio buttons are as follows:

  • No Comments, Notes, or Indicators. This option is selected by default. You can't see any indication of comments or notes in a workbook if this option is selected.
  • Indicators Only, and Comments and Notes on Hover. This option results in a small red triangle displayed in the upper-right corner of cells that have comments or notes.
  • Indicators and Notes, and Comments on Hover. With this option selected, the comment indicators (red triangles) still appear, but all the notes in your workbook are visible. Comments are visible only when you hover over a cell that contains comments. If you have a lot of notes, then your screen can appear very cluttered very quickly.

The exact names of these options will vary, depending on your version of Excel. This is because in approximately early 2022 Microsoft added the concept of threaded comments and renamed the older comments as notes. Thus, if the three options don't refer to notes, then you know you are using a version of Excel that doesn't support the newer threaded comments.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (6251) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Viewing Comments.

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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If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is eight more than 2?

2023-10-26 15:22:46

J. Woolley

My Excel Toolbox includes the CommentDisplayMode macro to cycle through the three comment display mode options (none, indicator only, indicator and unthreaded comment). The keyboard shortcut is Ctrl+T C D.
Here is an abbreviated version:

Sub CommentDisplayMode()
    With Application
        .DisplayCommentIndicator = Choose((.DisplayCommentIndicator + 2), _
            xlCommentAndIndicator, xlCommentIndicatorOnly, xlNoIndicator)
    End With
End Sub

And see

2023-10-25 15:35:35


Why is there no option to have "indicators Only, nothing on hover"?

I do need to know what cells in my sheet have a comment, so having an indicator there is great!
The constant accidental popups however when I am actively formatting my work is driving me nuts!
it seems like a logical next step in the line of options too, its just strange that the option isn't there.

2023-06-24 10:03:57

J. Woolley

Click Alt+R+T+T to view each comment (note) on a worksheet one at a time.
Click Alt+R+T+S to view all comments (notes) on the worksheet.

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