Setting the Default Font Size for Comment Balloons

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 12, 2016)

When you insert a comment into a worksheet cell, Excel places the user's name on the first line of the comment balloon in bold type. The insertion point is then at the beginning of the next line, ready for your to type. What you type is inserted, by default, in 8-point Tahoma.

If you want a larger font used for your comment, you can change the character formatting of anything within the comment itself. Just select the text, then use the controls on the Formatting toolbar or by choosing Comment from the Format menu.

Excel does not provide a way for you to change the default font specifications for comment balloons, across the board. You can change them individually (as already mentioned), but not universally within Excel. You can make a change in Windows that will affect the comment font, however. Follow these general instructions:

  1. Right-click anywhere on the desktop. Windows displays a Context menu.
  2. Choose Properties. Windows displays the Display Properties dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Appearance tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Appearance tab of the Display Properties dialog box.

  5. In some versions of Windows you should click the Advanced button. Windows displays the Advanced Appearance dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  6. Figure 2. The Advanced Appearance dialog box.

  7. Using the Item drop-down list, choose ToolTip.
  8. Using the other controls in the dialog box, change the font specifications as desired.
  9. Click OK, as necessary, to close all the open dialog boxes.

In case you didn't figure it out from these steps, the font used in the comment balloons of Excel is determined by the ToolTip font used by Windows. Changing the ToolTip font changes the comment balloons, but it also changes things in other applications besides Excel, as well. (Of course, if you think the font is too small in the comment balloons, you also probably think the font is too small everywhere else the ToolTip font is used.)

If you prefer to not change the ToolTip font, you can create an Excel macro that will step through all the comments in a worksheet to make changes.

Sub FixComments()
    Dim cmt As Comment

    For Each cmt In ActiveSheet.Comments
        With cmt.Shape.TextFrame.Characters.Font
            .Name = "Arial"
            .Size = 12
        End With
    Next cmt
End Sub

This macro changes the font to 12-point Arial for all comments. You could easily change the font and font size by making a change to the appropriate two lines of the macro.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2974) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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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