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: Formatting Text in Comment Boxes.

Formatting Text in Comment Boxes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 9, 2015)


Adding comments to the various cells in a worksheet can be quite helpful, particularly when it comes to documenting the organization and content of your worksheet. As you start adding more and more information as comments, you may wonder if there is a way to easily format the information in a comment box.

Text in a comment box can be formatted in much the same way as you format text in a text box: select the text, then choose one of the formatting options available from the Formatting toolbar or through the menus. You can easily change typefaces, font sizes, and character attributes, as desired.

If you want to format your text so that various elements line up with each other, your formatting options are a bit more limited. One good approach is to make sure the text you want aligned is formatted using a monospace typeface (such as Courier or Courier New), and then insert spaces in your data to align information on different lines. (Inserting spaces to align text on multiple lines can be tedious, so you may want to actually align the text in a text editor, such as Notepad.)

If your data doesn't have many columns in it, you can also align text by using Ctrl+Tab between columns. This doesn't actually add the tab character to your data; instead it inserts four of five spaces into the text, thereby helping to align data between rows. The number of spaces added is whatever is necessary to move the insertion point right by some multiple of eight characters. (The "column spacing" cannot be changed in Excel.) You can easily notice, if you are using a monospace font, how this lines up the columns in your text.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2563) 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: Formatting Text in Comment Boxes.

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}] 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 four less than 8?

2015-05-13 13:12:29

Katie Pasteur

I use this comment box feature frequently. I do have a problem with it "flattening" down and I have to expand the box because it will turn into a match sized box and must be expanded before it can be read with any accuracy. Can you tell me what I can do to prevent this from happening? Thank you.

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