Spreadsheet Design:
Print Comments

Title: Jan's Illustrated Computer Literacy 101
Did you want Working with Numbers: 2007,2010,2013,2016  or españolIcon: Change web

Dialog: Page Setup | Sheet tab - Comments listWhen you print your worksheet, do you want to see the comments or not? Printing choices for comments are on Page Setup's Sheet tab.

Your choices for printing:

  • (None) = no comments printed, which is the default.

  • All comments printed at the end of sheet on a separate page

  • As displayed on the sheet (only the ones that are visible)

Comments printed at end of sheet

Three comments printed
at end of sheet in order by row, then column

Where you are:
JegsWorks > Lessons > Numbers

Before you start...

Project 1: Excel IntroTo subtopics

Project 2: Excel BasicsTo subtopics    

Project 3: Format & ArrangeTo subtopics

Project 4: Groups & FormulasTo subtopics

Project 5: Design
    Analysis To subtopics
    FootprintPrint Comments
    What If...To subtopics
    Logical TestsTo subtopics
    Sharing DataTo subtopics
    ExercisesTo subtopics


Comment Order

Comments are named in order, as you create them, with boring default names: Comment 1, Comment 2, etc. You can rename a comment just like you can name a cell. Select the comment and type the name in the Name Box. The names won't print, so usually there is not much point in changing the default names.

If you choose to print comments "at end of sheet", they appear in cell order (by row, then column) rather than the order in which you created (and thus numbered) them. The comments attached to the three cells in the illustration above were created in the order A1, C3, and C1 but are not printed that way.

TipCell A1 is normally where hidden comments about the sheet as a whole belong. Reserve comments in other cells for explanations of that cell's importance or its behavior or its data source. For visible comments choose a cell that will let the comment display nicely without hiding your data.

Icon Step-by-Step

Step-by-Step: Print Comments

 Icon Step-by-Step

What you will learn:

to make a comment visible
to hide a comment
to print comments

Start with: Class disk trips32.xls - sheet Specials (saved in previous lesson)

Comment: Visible

  1. From the menu select  Tools  |  Options  |  View  and check the box for Comments & indicator. Now your comments will be visible all the time.

Dialog: Options | View tab with Comment & indicator chosen

Comment: Paste text

You can include your Analysis in a comment. You don't even have to type it over again! You can copy and paste it to your comment.

  1. Double-click cell A50 to edit it. Drag to select all of the text in cell A50 (your analysis) and then Copy.
    If you try to copy the cell instead of the cell contents,  nothing will happen when you paste to the comment box.
  2. Click in a cell to unselect A50.
  3. Right click on cell G1 and select  Edit Comment .
  4. Paste what you copied to the end of the existing text in the comment.
  5. Resize the comment's text box to show all the new text. (Hint: Drag the bottom of the box down)
  6. Format your pasted text by making  Analysis:  bold. Add other formatting, if you wish, to make your text easier to read.
  7. Class disk Save as  trips33.xls  in the excel project5 folder of your Class disk.

Analysis in a comment

Comment: Move alone

A comment will move when you move a whole cell, but how do you move a comment by itself? You will move your comment in cell G1 to cell A1 without overwriting the cell's contents.

  1. Select cell G1. Copy.
  2. Right click on cell A1. Select from the popup menu  Paste Special  |  Comments . Click OK. Your comment is copied, but only the comment - not the cell's contents or formatting.
  3. Right click on G1 and from the popup menu select  Delete Comment .
  4. Class diskSave. [trips33.xls]

Unexpectedly, you cannot select a comment and copy or cut and paste. Who knew??

Comment: Print as displayed

You control how comments print from the Page Setup dialog. The control is not very noticeable for some reason.

  1. Open Page Setup.
  2. On the Sheet tab, for Comments select As displayed on sheet.
  3. If necessary, set Rows to repeat at the top to $1:$2 to get the title cells on all the pages.
  4. On the Page tab select Portrait orientation. Close the dialog.
  5. Page Break Preview Open the Page Break Preview.  
    If necessary,
    insert page breaks between the two tables and above the analysis in cell A50.
    If necessary, drag the right border wide enough to include the whole comment.
    You may have more than 3 pages, depending on the width of your comment box. The illustration shows that 6 pages will print when you print the sheet.

  6. Preview: Multiple pages print with part of comment includedClick on the Print Preview button and check all pages.

    This is not what you want!

    Problem 1: Only half of the comment box is showing on the first page! The rest of the comment box is on another page (page 4 in the illustration).

    Possible Solution: Make the page wider.

    You could make the margins narrower, or change to Landscape orientation. Sometimes you can make columns or the comment box itself narrower.

    Problem 2: Other pages include part of the comment box, too.  Pages 2, 3, 5, and 6 are repeating rows 1 and 2 the way you told them to in the Page Setup. The comment box overlaps those rows.

    Possible Solution: Move the comment box so that it does not overlap the repeated rows. Or make the whole sheet fit on 1 page.


  7. Click on the Setup… button to see Page Setup again. Change to Landscape orientation.
  8. Click on the Print Preview button. Only three pages to print now and the comment is fully shown on page 1. But...  part of the Comment box is on pages 2 and 3 because it overlaps rows 1 and 2, which print on all pages of this sheet. This is not want you want to see!
  9. Preview: One page wide by One page tallClick on the Setup… button again to see Page Setup. Select Portrait and Fit to one page wide by one page tall.
  10. Click on the Print Preview button.

    Now the two tables, the comment, and the analysis fit on a single page. Of course you would not normally have the analysis in two places!

  11. Print Print the single page.


Comment: Print at end

Printing comments at the end has the advantage of putting all your comments together. It may also simplify your formatting since the comments, whether hidden or visible, will not print on the pages with data.

  1. Open Page Setup again to the Sheet tab.
  2. For Comments select At the end of sheet
  3. Open Print Preview and click on the Next button to see the sheet with the Comment. [You should still be set for 1 page wide by 1 page tall.]
  4. Open the Print dialog and set it to Pages From 2, To 2 to print the one page with the comment.
  5. Print Print. The formatting you applied to the comment box did not show up in print!

Preview: Comments printed at end

Comment: Hide

  1. Select  Tools  |  Options  |  View  and select under Comments None. Now the comment indicator is hidden and so is your comment. You can view the comment by right clicking cell A1 and choosing Edit Comment. When a user looks at this sheet, there is no clue that there is a hidden comment. Sometimes that is a good thing and sometimes it's not.
  2. While you are cleaning up, select cell A50 with the Analysis and press DELETE. Use AutoFit to resize Row 50 to the default height. Split the merged cells with  Format  |  Cells 
  3. Class diskSave. [trips33.xls]