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Like jotting down notes when you’re composing a document, you can use notes in Excel for a spreadsheet. You might use a note as a reminder, to add a reference, or include a detail that should stay outside of the cell data.

Notes are different than comments in Excel. Comments are normally used when collaborating with others on your spreadsheet. You can communicate regarding additions or changes to the data and mark comments as resolved when tasks are complete.

If you want to take advantage of the note feature in Excel, let’s look at how to add a note and the actions you can take to manage notes in your sheet.

Add a Note in Excel

You can add a note to a cell in Excel in a couple of different ways. One way is to go to the Review tab and select the Notes drop-down arrow. Your other option is to simply right-click the cell and choose “New Note.”

New Notes in the Notes menu on the Review tab

You’ll see your name or Excel username followed by a colon in the yellow note box. Simply type your note and then click anywhere in the sheet to close it. The notes you add are saved automatically.

New note displayed in Excel

Once you add a note to a cell, you’ll see a red triangle in the corner of the cell. This is your indicator that a note is attached. Simply select the cell or hover your cursor over it to display the note.

New note added in Excel

Change How Notes Display

To change how the notes display, whether upon clicking or hovering your cursor, go to File > Options. Select “Advanced” on the left and scroll to the Display section on the right.

You’ll see three options below For Cells With Comments, Show. You can hide the notes and indicators, show the indicators only and notes when you hover, or show both indicators and notes.

Note and comment settings in Excel

Note: Keep in mind that adjusting this setting affects comments in your sheet as well as notes.

Edit a Note

You can add, edit, or remove text you’ve typed into a note. Select the cell to display the note, go to the Review tab, and select “Edit Note” in the Notes drop-down menu. Alternatively, right-click the cell and pick “Edit Note.”

Edit Note in the Notes menu on the Review tab

Then place your cursor inside it to make your change.

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Show and Hide Notes

There may be a time when you want to display all notes in your sheet if you have more than one. You can enable a setting to keep one or more notes visible.

To display a single note, select the cell and go to the Review tab. Click the Notes drop-down menu and pick “Show/Hide Note.” You can also right-click the cell and choose “Show/Hide Note” in the shortcut menu.

Show/Hide Note in the Notes menu on the Review tab

To display all notes in your sheet, pick “Show All Notes” in the drop-down menu instead.

Show All Notes in the Notes menu on the Review tab

To hide your notes again, open the Notes drop-down menu and deselect “Show/Hide Note” or “Show All Notes.”

Move Between Notes

Whether you decide to keep your notes visible or select the cell to view the note, you can move through each note one at a time if needed.

On the Review tab, select the Notes drop-down menu, and use the Previous Note and Next Note options.

Previous Note and Next Note in the Notes menu on the Review tab

Delete a Note

If you finish with a note and no longer need it, you can delete it one of two ways. Select the cell, go to the Review tab, and click “Delete” in the Comments section of the ribbon. Alternatively, right-click the cell containing the note and pick “Delete Note.”

Delete in the Comments section of the ribbon

Convert Notes to Comments

Maybe you added several notes to your sheet before sharing it and want to turn those notes into comments you can use to collaborate. This lets you take advantage of comment features like mentions and resolving comments.

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Open the Review tab and select the Notes drop-down menu. Choose “Convert to Comments.”

Convert to Comments in the Notes menu on the Review tab

You’ll see a pop-up message asking you to confirm this action. Select “Convert All Notes” to continue.

Convert to Comments confirmation message

Your notes then turn into comments that you can view and take action on, either yourself or with your collaborators. Also, the red note indicator on the cell changes to a purple comment indicator.

Notes converted to comments in Excel

By using notes in Excel, you can remind yourself to update the data in a cell, include a reference for the original source, or log a specific detail pertaining to the cell. Keep this handy feature in mind!

For more, look at how to hide comments, formulas, gridlines, and more in your Excel sheets.

Profile Photo for Sandy Writtenhouse Sandy Writtenhouse
With her B.S. in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She learned how technology can enrich both professional and personal lives by using the right tools. And, she has shared those suggestions and how-tos on many websites over time. With thousands of articles under her belt, Sandy strives to help others use technology to their advantage.
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