Excel for Microsoft 365 has changed the way comments work. Comments are now threaded, and allow you to have discussions with other people about the data. Notes are for making notes or annotations about the data, and work like comments used to work in earlier versions of Excel.

Comments

Cell with $1,234.00, and a threaded comment attached: "Dave Ludwig: Is this figure correct?" "Amy Smith: Let me check..." and so on
Comments have a Reply box. When people reply, you can see several comments connected together, showing a virtual conversation in the workbook. If you need to discuss data with other people, then use a comment.

Notes

Cell with $1,234.00, and an oOlder, legacy comment attached: "Dave Ludwig: Is this figure correct?"
Notes (formerly called "comments" in earlier versions of Excel) don't have a Reply box. Notes are just for adding annotations or reminders in cells. If you don't need to have a discussion about the data, then use a note.

Frequently asked questions

You can click New Comment on the right-click menu, or on the Review tab. Then you and other people can have discussions in the data.

If a comment thread is complete, then you can mark it as Resolved. The comment will still be viewable, but no further additions can be made to it unless it's reopened. Anyone who has write access to a workbook can resolve or reopen comments.

You can click New Note on the right-click menu. Or you can click Notes > New Note on the Review tab. "Notes" is the new name for the old comments. They do not have a Reply box.

Refrain from clicking New Comment, and instead, click New Note. That command available on the right-click menu. Or you can click Notes > New Note on the Review tab.

There are differences between the way threaded comments work, and the way notes work.

Comments

Notes

White background

Yellow background

Ability to reply

No ability to reply

Ctrl+Enter posts the comment.

ESC moves you out of the comment. Ctrl+Enter creates a new line and doesn't post the comment.

All comments can be shown in a pane alongside the data.

All comments can be shown, but scattered across the cells and not in a pane alongside the data.

You cannot currently format text or add images inside threaded comments.

You can format text and add images inside notes.

You cannot currently resize threaded comments.

You can resize notes.

You cannot remove or change your name.

You can remove or change the name.

To edit a comment, you click (or hover over) the comment text and then click Edit. If you did not create the original comment, then the Edit button won't be available, but you can reply.

To edit a note, you can right-click the note and choose Edit Note. Or you can click Notes > Edit Note on the Review tab.

To show all comments at once, you click Show Comments on the Review tab. Then a Comments pane will appear on the right with all comments and their replies.

To show all notes at once, you click Notes > Show All Notes on the Review tab.

To delete a comment, you can right-click the cell with the comment then select the Delete Comment option, or go to the Review tab > Comments > Delete.

To delete a note, you can right-click the cell with the note, and choose the Delete Note option, or go to the Review tab > Comments > Delete.

Notes: 

  • Keep in mind that it's possible for others to edit your comments. Comments in an Office document are stored in the file, so anyone with edit access to your file can edit your comment.

  • If you’ve saved the workbook locally, you will only be able to edit a comment if you’re signed in with the same profile as when the comment was created.

Notes and Comments are mostly the same between Excel for Microsoft 365 and Excel for the web  

Feature

Details

Create a Note

Notes and threaded Comments can be created
in both Excel for Microsoft 365 and Excel for the web

Display a Note

Notes  appear as yellow sticky Notes in both Excel for Microsoft 365 and Excel for the web

Edit a Note

Notes can be edited in Excel for the web without being converted to a threaded Comment

Pin a Note to the grid

Notes can be pinned to the grid in Excel for the web, but only for the current session

Resize a Note

Notes are displayed separate from comments in Excel for the web and can be resized, but only for the current session

Navigate between Notes

You can navigate to the Next Note and Previous Note using the ribbon in both Excel for Microsoft 365 and Excel for the web

Move a  Note

Notes cannot be moved in Excel for the web

Display rich text, color, and images

Notes created on the desktop client will not display as rich text in Excel for the web

Edit rich text, color, and images

Editing Notes in Excel for the web will remove any existing rich text the note may have contained

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