Hyperlinks in Comments

Excel makes it rather easy to insert a hyperlink into a cell. You may, however, want to actually add a hyperlink to a comment intstead of to a cell. This can also be done; the trick is to make sure that the only thing contained in the comment is the hyperlink itself. Follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on the cell that you want to contain the comment. Excel displays a Context menu.
  2. Choose Insert Comment from the Context menu. Excel adds the comment and places the insertion point within the comment box.
  3. Press the Backspace key enough times that you delete the username. The insertion point should be at the very beginning of the cell.
  4. Type the URL you want to use for the hyperlink.
  5. Press the Delete key a few times to delete any non-printing characters that may exist after the insertion point in the comment box.
  6. Click a different cell. The comment should disappear.
  7. Right-click the same cell to which you added the comment (the same cell as in step 1). Excel displays a Context menu.
  8. Choose Show/Hide Comments from the Context menu. The comments in your worksheet are displayed.

Now you can click on the comment that contains the URL and Excel helpfully opens the browser and displays whatever is at that URL. You needed to perform steps 7 and 8 because you need to hover the mouse pointer over the comment containing the URL (in order to click it) and you can’t hover over a comment that isn’t displayed.

If you still cannot get the hyperlink to activate successfully, there are two probable culprits. First, you need to make sure that the hyperlink itself is initially the only thing in the comment. (More on that in a moment.) That is why you need to perform steps 3 and 5 in the above sequence of steps. The other possible culprit is that you didn’t put in a URL that Excel could recognize as a URL.

Now, more on the URL being the only thing in the comment. Interestingly enough, once you get the URL to work properly you are free to change the text that the comment contains. So, for instance, when I created a comment that contained the URL “www.tips.net” (without the quote marks) and nothing else, I could then click on the comment and the webpage was displayed. I could then go back, right-click the comment to edit it, and change the text to something else (such as “Let’s go to Tips.net”). Even though the URL was no longer visible, the link was still active in the comment and clicking on the comment displayed the Tips.net webpage.