Sadly, most users of comments don’t drift beyond the default appearance of a comment.
For the more adventurous of us, we can right-click on a comment border and select Format Comment or use the CTRL-1 keyboard shortcut.
Aside from the font, font size, font color customizations, we can also select the Colors and Lines tab of the Format Comment dialog box to access many creative cosmetic features.
An interesting way to get visually creative comments is to add a background image to the comment. We will achieve this by selecting and capturing as a file an icon from the icon library. We will then apply it as a background for our comment box.
Unfortunately, Excel will allow us to perform all but one of the steps necessary to achieve this result. Because of this Excel limitation, we will utilize PowerPoint to create and capture the background image.
The steps to achieve this are as follows:
- Launch PowerPoint and create a new blank presentation with a blank slide.
- Insert an icon by selecting Insert (tab) -> Illustrations (group) -> Icons.
- From the icon library, select the icon(s) that suit your needs. For this tutorial, we will be using the “tablet” icon from the “Technology and electronics” category and the “checklist” icon from the “Business” category. Select the icons and click Insert.
- Move the icons to allow a fair amount of distance between them.
- Resize the icons. Making them larger will allow for easier modifications.
- The icons may have unnecessary whitespace surrounding the icon. Select the icon and click Graphic Tools – Format (tab) -> Size (group) -> Crop and remove the extra whitespace from the icons.
- From the Graphic Styles button group, customize the fill color, outline color, and any other cosmetic customizations you wish. Keep in mind, the image will be reduced in size, so the simpler you maintain the look of the icon, the better.
- Right-click the icon and select Save as Picture. Select the PNG format and save the image to a location and with a filename of your choosing.
- Return to Excel, select the border edge of a comment and press CTRL-1.
- On the Colors and Lines tab, in the Fill category, select the Color dropdown and click Fill Effects.
- Select the Picture tab and click Select Picture.
- Browse to your newly created picture’s folder and select the image.
- Check the box titled Lock Picture Aspect Ratio.
- In the Line category, set the line color to No Line.
- Click OK to accept all settings.
- The image may be slightly cropped. Using the resize handles, adjust the comment border until you can thee the image in its entirety.
- To prevent future resize operations from re-cropping the image, press CTRL-1 to reopen the Format Comment dialog box. Select the Size tab and place a check in the Lock Aspect Ratio option and click OK.
- Because the text is slightly obscured by the thick border of the image, press CTRL-1 to return to the Format Comment dialog box. On the Margins tab, set the margins for all for sides to 25”.
Observe the final version of the custom comment.
If you wish to apply this comment box style to other cells without having to perform all the previous steps, use the “Select-Copy-Paste Comments” technique discussed earlier.