How to Remove Comments and Notes in Excel

How to Remove Comments and Notes in Excel

When working in finance or investment banking, utilizing comments and notes within Excel is crucial, not just a nice-to-have feature. These resources are vital in improving financial analysis, promoting teamwork, and enhancing data transparency. They enable you to provide background information, clarifications, and valuable observations within your spreadsheets, simplifying the understanding of the reasoning and logic backing the data.

Sometimes, you might find yourself in a situation where you have to delete comments and notes from your Excel documents. This could be for reasons like wanting to make your spreadsheet look more professional for a presentation, maintaining privacy, or sharing the file with clients while keeping internal discussions private. In this blog post, we’ll discuss different ways to remove comments and notes from Excel spreadsheets that are specifically useful for finance professionals and investment bankers.

 

Understanding Comments and Notes in Excel for Finance

Before removing anything, let’s first understand how comments and notes work in Excel. In older versions like Excel 2019, users could add comments to cells, which are shown as red triangles in the corner. They are hovering over the comment. In newer versions like Excel for Office 365 and 2021, Microsoft introduced ‘notes’ for a more modern and user-friendly experience.

When analyzing finances, it’s important to include comments and notes to give more context to the data. These annotations can provide further insight into where numbers come from or essential factors to consider in your analysis. These explanations can help others better grasp your work and encourage teamwork among colleagues and stakeholders.

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Dataset Overview

To illustrate the process of removing comments and notes, let’s consider a typical dataset investment bankers use. This dataset might include company financial statements, valuation models, investment recommendations, and client portfolio information. Throughout the spreadsheet, you and your team have likely added comments and notes to provide context, explain assumptions, and flag important points for discussion.

For example, in a company valuation model, you might have added a comment to explain the rationale behind your choice of discount rate or a note to highlight a key sensitivity analysis. In a client portfolio spreadsheet, you may have used comments to provide additional details about specific investments or to flag assets that require further review.

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How to Remove Individual Comments and Notes in Financial Spreadsheets

If you need to remove a single comment or note from your financial spreadsheet, the process is straightforward:

Step 1: Select the cell containing the comment or note you want to remove.

Step 2: Right-click on the cell and choose “Delete Comment” (for comments) or “Delete Note” (for notes).

The comment or note will be instantly removed from the cell.

How to Remove Multiple Comments and Notes in Bulk

When working with large financial spreadsheets or preparing files for sharing, it is sometimes necessary to delete comments or notes from multiple cells at once. To remove comments or notes in bulk: 

Step 1: Select the entire worksheet (Click the triangle between the row and column headers).

Step 2: For comments: Go to Review > Delete. This will delete all comments on the sheet.

Step 3: For notes: Go to Home > Clear.

Step 4: Select ‘Clear Comments and Notes.’

Done! All comments/notes on the current sheet have been removed.

Using VBA to Remove Comments and Notes in Financial Models

As an advanced Excel user, you can utilize VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) to eliminate annotations. While the VBA method is the most robust and customizable, it does necessitate some familiarity with coding. We will provide a simple VBA script as an example, which you can tailor to suit your specific requirements. 

Below is a VBA subroutine that eradicates all comments and notes from the current workbook:

Sub DeleteAllComments()

‘Deletes all comments and notes in the active workbook

 

Dim ws As Worksheet

For Each ws In ActiveWorkbook.Worksheets

  ws.Cells.ClearComments

  ws.Cells.ClearNotes

Next ws

 

End Sub

 

To use the above feature:

Step 1: Open the VBA (Alt+F11).

Step 2: In the Project pane, right-click your workbook name and select ‘Insert > Module’.

Step 3: Paste the above code into the module.

Step 4: Save the workbook as a macro-enabled .xlsm file.

Step 5: Close the VBA editor.

Step 6: Go to View > Macros > View Macros.

Step 7: Select the ‘DeleteAllComments’ macro and click ‘Run’.

The code loops through each worksheet in the workbook and uses the `ClearComments` and `ClearNotes` methods to remove annotations. You can modify it to only affect certain sheets by changing the `For Each` loop.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when using VBA to remove comments:

  • Always keep backups of your files before running macros.
  • Be sure you want to delete EVERY comment and note. It’s not undoable!
  • If you share the workbook, the recipient will need to enable macros to use the script.

Best Practices for Managing Comments and Notes in Financial Spreadsheets

While comments and notes can be extremely helpful in financial analysis, it’s important to use them judiciously and manage them effectively. Here are some best practices to keep in mind:

  • Develop a standard system for categorizing your comments (e.g., Assumptions, To-Dos, Questions). This will make it easier to remove certain types in bulk later.
  • Another crucial practice we discussed is the regular review and cleanup of comments as you work. This is important to prevent the accumulation of unnecessary data and maintain your Spreadsheet’s clarity. Don’t let them pile up into an overwhelming mess.
  • Before removing all comments, carefully review them to ensure you’re not deleting critical information. Move any vital notes to a dedicated documentation sheet or README tab.
  • Establishing a comment protocol with your team is essential for shared workbooks. This promotes collaboration and ensures everyone is on the same page about what to include in annotations and how to handle cleanup. It’s a simple step that can significantly enhance your team’s productivity.
  • Consider using an external tool like Spreadsheet Compare to locate and remove annotations across multiple versions of a model

The key is staying organized and communicating with your colleagues. A little proactive comment management will save you massive headaches down the line!

Using Macabacus’ Prepare to Share Tool

Macabacus offers a number of “sanitation” tools designed to refine files before you distribute them to your co-workers or external clients. The Prepare to Share feature from Macabacus enables users to verify the integrity of a workbook, safeguard sensitive or proprietary data, and enhance the overall look and formatting of spreadsheets, among its many capabilities.

For example, cell comments provide clarity to assumptions and methodologies used in a model. However, they may contain sensitive information or internal communication that is not suitable for external distribution. Using Macabacus’ Prepare to Share tool, you can remove the comments to keep them away from prying eyes. See the video below to learn more about the tool:

Conclusion

Maintaining clean, efficient, and professional Excel spreadsheets is crucial in the fast-paced finance and investment banking world. While comments and notes can be valuable tools for enhancing financial analysis and collaboration, there are times when you need to remove them.

By understanding the different methods for removing individual comments and notes, deleting them in bulk, and even using VBA for more advanced removal tasks, you can keep your financial spreadsheets polished and ready for presentation or sharing. Remember to use comments and notes strategically, review them before removal, and always back up your data to ensure the integrity of your financial models and analyses.

With these tips and techniques, you’ll be well-equipped to manage comments and notes efficiently in your Excel spreadsheets. This lets you focus on what matters most: providing accurate, insightful, and impactful financial analysis to drive informed decision-making. If you’re looking to enhance your productivity and streamline your workflows further, Macabacus is your go-to solution!

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Gain access to 100+ shortcuts, formula auditing visualizations, easy Excel-to-PowerPoint linking and productivity tools to help you accelerate financial modeling and presentations.

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