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Filtering for Comments

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Filtering for Comments.

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 will be 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 tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
  4. Click Special. Excel displays the Go To Special dialog box.
  5. Click the Comments radio button and then press Enter. Only those cells containing comments are selected.
  6. Type any number, character, or phrase not already present in the column.
  7. Press Ctrl+Enter. All the selected cells (those with comments) should now contain what you typed in step 6.
  8. 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:

=CellHasComment(B2)

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.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3508) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Filtering for Comments.

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