Search Excel for Comments

Search Excel for Comments

The use of comments in Excel is very important as they help to bring extra context to which the narrative can be tied. They provide an explanation and justification for the preceding data. Nevertheless, although the dimension and formality of spreadsheets may grow gradually, you may encounter difficulties in the comment search process.

This guide will provide you with a step-by-step procedure on different ways to quickly find comments in Excel. We will show practical examples using a dataset in order to make things easy to understand, as well as provide a solution.


Understanding the Role of Comment Search in Excel

Before we proceed to the different search methods, let’s clarify why searching for comments is important for us. Comment search is crucial for:

  • Managing Large Datasets: In this way, by means of comments, you can deal with unstructured data and, as a result, you are able to manage and organize them easily. Notes become especially powerful for financial analysts when they are dealing with large spreadsheets. They allow users to leave notes regarding assumptions, calculations, and data sources. You can immediately sort and view the extra information in order to keep better control of the data and ensure better understanding.
  • Auditing: Audit searches play an important role in the process by verifying calculations and data accuracy. Auditors usually depend on annotations because they help them figure out the reason why a certain value or formula is applied. As a result, they can do their reviews and bring their attention to issues and/or inconsistencies more effectively.
  • Ensuring Data Integrity: Comment search helps keep data accurate by making them relevant in relation to context and explanations. Commenting can describe exactly the rules regarding how to enter data, handle exceptions, or indicate data validation routines. Through cross-checking the postings, one can observe that the data remains in line with standard regulations, helping uphold the overall integrity of the data.

Now that we’ve figured out the importance of comment search, the next step is to investigate and become familiar with the different search methods for comments in Excel.

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How to Search for Comments in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Here’s one way to find comments in Excel:

Method 1: Using Find and Replace

The Find and Replace feature in Excel allows users to locate comments within a workbook in a few simple steps. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use the feature, with a focus on financial datasets:

Step 1: Open your financial model or deal tracking sheet in Excel.

Step 2: Press Ctrl+F (or Cmd+F on a Mac) to open the Find and Replace dialog box.

Step 3: In the ‘Find what’ box, type an asterisk (*) to look for any text that is inside the comments.

Step 4: Under the ‘Look in; dropdown menu, select ‘Comments’.

Step 5: Click ‘Find All’ to automatically see a list of all cells that contain comments that match your search keyword.

Step 6: Review the list of comments to find the information you need.

Method 2: Creating a Macro to Search for Comments

Macros in Excel are automated sequences of commands that can be used to perform repetitive tasks or complex operations. By creating a macro to search for comments, you can quickly and efficiently locate specific information within your financial datasets. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create a macro to search for comments:

Step 1: Hit ‘Alt+F11’ to launch the VBA editor.

Step 2: In the VBE, go to Insert > Module to create a new module.

Step 3: Paste the following code into the code window:

Sub SearchCommentsInDataset()

    Dim cmt As Comment

    Dim searchTerm As String

    Dim found As Boolean


    Set ws = ThisWorkbook.Sheets(“Sheet1”)


    ‘ Prompt the user to enter the search term

    searchTerm = InputBox(“Enter the search term:”)


    ‘ Loop through each cell in the active sheet

    For Each cmt In ActiveSheet.Comments

        ‘ Check if the comment contains the search term

        If InStr(1, cmt.Text, searchTerm, vbTextCompare) > 0 Then

            ‘ Display the content of the comment

            MsgBox “Comment Found: ” & vbCrLf & cmt.Text

            found = True

            ‘ Debugging purposes: Highlight the cell containing the comment


            Exit For

        End If

    Next cmt


    ‘ If the search term is not found, display a message

    If Not found Then

        MsgBox “No comments containing “”” & searchTerm & “”” found.”

    End If

End Sub

Step 4: Replace ‘Sheet1’ with the actual sheet name where comments need to be found.

Step 5: Execute the macro by pressing ‘F5′.

By following the above steps and using the provided dataset, you can create a macro to search for comments specific to your needs as a finance professional or investment banker. Remember to save your workbook as a macro-enabled file and test your macro on the dataset before using it on other financial models or deal-tracking sheets.

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Download Template

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Search Excel for Comments

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Best Practices for Searching Comments

To make your comment search process more efficient and effective, consider the following best practices:

  • Use specific keywords: When looking for comments in Excel, do not hesitate to use exact keywords or phrases that are most likely to be found in the comments. It typically results in a narrower search, making the process faster.
  • Use wildcard characters: Among wildcard characters (* for a sequence of characters and ? for 1 character), one can choose to use them to represent any sequence of characters or a single character, respectively. Wildcard symbols are used to build more flexible search formulas, so if you use them, you will be able to conduct more accurate and larger searches.
  • Combine search methods: Do not rely on a search engine alone. By integrating various techniques: the Find and Replace functionality, and advanced filter, you can ensure that your query never misses any of the items. 
  • Document comment conventions: Establish and create rules on adding comments in your spreadsheets to prevent misplaced comments across the spreadsheets. Use keywords constantly, add prefixes often, and tag the related keywords in the comments. Tagging comments makes it easy to find them for later review. It also helps improve team coordination, as everyone can follow the same rules for commenting.
  • Regularly review and clean up comments: Once in a while, look into the comments in your spreadsheets. Outdated and irrelevant comments need to be removed. This saves a lot of time and provides a high level of accuracy by avoiding confusion and overcrowding in the spreadsheet. This helps in quick comment searches and removes the clutter from the spreadsheet.

You will be able to cut down the time you spend searching for comments by following the useful recommendations above. You can read through your Excel spreadsheet and find the information you are looking for in less time.

Managing Searched Comments

After you’ve successfully identified the comments, you might possibly need to accomplish the other actions on the comments. Here are some common tasks related to managing searched comments:

  • Editing Comments: If you need to change some sentences in the comment after you have made it, you can do so conveniently. For this, you just have to tap on the cell where you need to enter your feedback and a pop-up box automatically appears. Add the needed changes to the comment text. Type X and then press Enter to confirm the updates.
  • Replying to Comments: Excel provides you with the possibility to reply to existing comments. To reply to the comment, you can right-click on the cell and select ‘Reply’ from the context menu. A reply box opens below where you can write your response. 
  • Deleting Comments: If it is not mandatory or appropriate to mention an issue in a comment anymore – you should delete it. To delete the comment, press the right mouse button within the cell with the comment and choose ‘Delete Comment’ from the contextual menu. Another thing you can do is to select the cell and then go to the ‘Review’ tab in the ribbon and afterward click ‘Delete’ over in the group of ‘Comments’.
  • Printing Comments: If you have to include remarks in a conventional hardcopy of the spreadsheet, you may set Excel to section-off print comments along with the cell contents. The ‘Page Layout’ tab option in the ribbon will reveal a further option: the ‘Page Setup’ dialog box launcher. On the ‘Sheet’ tab, of the Page Setup dialog box, specify the option you prefer under ‘Comments’ to decide how the comments should appear (e.g., block the comments at the end of the sheet, on each sheet as displayed).
  • Exporting Comments: You can export the comments into a separate folder, allowing you to review or secure the archive purpose. This feature toggle is called ‘Export Comments’. Open the ‘Review’ tab in the box and press ‘Export Comment’ on the ‘Comments’ group. Specify the format of the file you would like to save the exported comments into (.xlsx or .csv) and target a location to save your comments.

Sometimes, thousands of users might look at a spreadsheet, and once useful data can stack up as scraps in the form of comments. The integrity of your spreadsheet depends on how you deal with such comments. Review, add, or delete comments to guarantee that the information is correct, useful, and easily obtainable.


One of the most important features when working with Excel is the ability to find comments. This guide’s strategies, such as Find and Replace, and the advanced filter, can be employed to simplify the search for comments in the data set and quickly find information.

Take note of the best practices, including using special characters and combining the methods to find relevant posts, settling on a documenting system for the commenting convention, and reviewing and clearing the comments regularly.

By following our recommendations above, you will be able to quickly and accurately find comments on specific topics. If you want to take your comment-searching skills to the next level, try Macabacus.

Create Financial Models 10x Faster with Macabacus

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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