A Neater Way to Show Users Comments or Spreadsheet Instructions

When I wanted to show instructions to users on spreadsheets I used to use Excel cell comments or write something in another cell on the sheet. Comments leave unwanted little red triangles everywhere and instructions dotted around on a sheet may just mess with your fine tuned formatting. Also, Normal Excel comments only appear when you hover your mouse pointer over them. What if you want the comment to appear when a user selects a particular cell.

This alternative uses the Data Validation option. Watch this video for a quick demonstration or read on for details…


How to add Data Validation comments


Select the cell you would like an instruction to pop up on (once selected)


In the Data Tab, select the Data Validation option from the Data Tools section. Navigate to the Input Message tab and type your instruction into the Input Message: box (highlighted below in blue)


Now when you select that cell, your message will appear and you wont have an ugly little red triangle getting in your face!


You can obviously combine messaging with other data validation options like drop down boxes etc. Those will be covered in a future post.

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