Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Filtering for Comments.

Filtering for Comments

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 21, 2022)


Robert has a worksheet that has comments included in various places. He wonders if it is possible to filter the rows in a data table so that only those rows that include comments in a particular column are displayed.

The filtering capabilities of Excel don't provide a way that you can automatically check for the presence of comments, but there are a couple of ways you can approach a solution. One possible solution is to follow these general steps:

  1. Make a copy of the column that contains comments to be filtered.
  2. Select the duplicate column.
  3. Press F5 to display the Go To dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Go To dialog box.

  5. Click Special. Excel displays the Go To Special dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  6. Figure 2. The Go To Special dialog box.

  7. Click the Comments radio button and then press Enter. Only those cells containing comments are selected.
  8. Type any number, character, or phrase not already present in the column.
  9. Press Ctrl+Enter. All the selected cells (those with comments) should now contain what you typed in step 6.
  10. Use AutoFilter to display only those rows that contain whatever you typed in step 6.

If you prefer, you can create a user-defined function that will let you know if a particular cell has a comment associated with it. The following is a simple way to make such a determination:

Function CellHasComment(c As Range)
    Application.Volatile True
    CellHasComment = Not c.Comment Is Nothing
End Function

Now you can use a formula such as the following within a worksheet:


When the formula is executed, it returns either True or False, depending on whether cell B2 has a comment or not. You can then use Excel's filtering capabilities to display only those rows that have a True returned by the formula.


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 (11232) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Filtering for 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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What is one minus 1?

2022-03-20 12:52:26

J. Woolley

My Excel Toolbox includes the following function returning TRUE if any cell in Target includes a comment:
Target is the range of cells to consider; default is the formula's cell.
If Threaded is TRUE, only threaded Comments will be considered; default is FALSE for legacy unthreaded comments (Notes). To consider both over columns A:F in row 2:

2022-03-18 11:22:42

J. Woolley

Re. my previous comment, I forgot about this Define Name weirdness. If you define a Name that refers to a formula using A1 style cell references, it automatically becomes worksheet specific. But using relative R1C1 style cell references avoids this problem. So that part of my previous comment can be modified as follows:
Pick Formulas > Define Name... with
Name: IsComment
Scope: Workbook
Refers to: =NOT(ISERROR(CommentText(INDIRECT("R[0]C[0]",FALSE))))
Then it is possible to define Conditional Formatting for any range on any worksheet of the workbook using =IsComment as the Formula Rule.

2022-03-17 14:07:06

J. Woolley

My Excel Toolbox includes the following function to return the text of a Target cell's comment:
This function will return the text of either a legacy unthreaded comment (Note) or a threaded Comment. If SkipAuthor is FALSE (default), the comment's author will be included in the returned text if available; otherwise, the comment's author will be removed if possible. If Target is a multi-cell range, its top-left cell applies. If Target's cell does not have a comment, #VALUE! (Error 2015) will be returned.
I use My Excel Toolbox as an add-in; therefore, the CommentText function cannot be referenced in a Conditional Formatting Rule. But there is a work-around. Pick Formulas > Define Name... with
Name: IsComment
Scope: worksheet
Refers to: =NOT(ISERROR(CommentText(A1)))
Then it is possible to define Conditional Formatting for any range on the same worksheet using =IsComment as the Formula Rule. For example, apply a fill color to each cell where the Rule is TRUE. You can filter based on cell color as suggested by Willy Vanhaelen, and each cell's color will update whenever a comment is added or deleted (press Shift+F9 to recalculate). Repeat this work-around for each applicable worksheet.
The procedures described so far only permit filtering for rows that have comments in a single column. To filter for rows that have comments in more than one column, use a helper column with a function suggested by the Tip, but modify that function as follows:

Function CellHasComment(R As Range)
    Dim C As Range, B As Boolean
    Application.Volatile True
    For Each C In R
        B = B Or Not C.Comment Is Nothing Or _
            Not C.CommentThreaded Is Nothing
    Next C
    CellHasComment = B
End Function

Assuming cells in columns A:F might have a comment, put this formula in row 2 of the helper column and copy the formula down that column:
Now you can filter for rows that have TRUE in the helper column.

2016-09-06 16:57:43


Great tip, thanks Willy and Allen!

2016-09-04 05:18:48

Willy Vanhaelen

It can be done without a helper column:

1) Select the column that contains comments to be filtered.
2) Follow steps 3) tot 5) of the tip
3) Fill the selected cells with a color of your choice
4) Filter the column by this color

If you dont like the colors to be permanent you can easily remove them after you are done.

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