Clever Clogs tip # 729
2 June 2023

Display an input message when you select a column or cell (Microsoft Excel) *

Are you using Notes in Excel or have you fallen in love with the new(ish) Comments? (SHIFT + F2 and CTRL + SHIFT + F2 if you want to add them while keeping your hands on the keyboard.)

I use Notes (formerly known as Comments) like a sticky note for myself and Comments for Collaboration. So if you need a mnemonic (or "donkey bridge" as the Dutch and Germans call these memory aids) think of the letter C for Collaboration or Conversation.

But I digress. This tip is about Input Messages, which are a bit more in-your-face and some of my delegates find them better for what they want than Notes. (Thanks for the tip inspiration, Sarah!)

Here's how:

  1. Select the cell(s) or column where you want the input message to pop up.
  2. Click on the Data Validation button in the Data Tools group on the Data tab. (No need to click on its drop-down arrow.)
  3. Click the Input Message tab.
  4. Type a Title (this is optional) and Input message.
  5. Press ENTER or click on OK.

Next time you click on the cell(s) you selected in step 1 you will see the Input Message. (In Microsoft's Help pages they say it also pops up when you hover over the cells, but that doesn't work for me. I really have to click.)

Related tips

  1. Create a drop-down list with text to ensure accurate and consistent data entry: tip_608.php
  2. How to delete all comments in a workbook: tip_500.php
  3. How to quickly insert a comment in multiple cells: tip_392.php
  4. Find and select data validation: tip_598.php

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That's it. See you next month. In the meantime follow #CleverClogsTipTime on LinkedIn for more shortcuts, hints and tips. You don't know what you don't know!

* Unless stated otherwise this tip is written for Microsoft 365 desktop apps and Windows 10 users, but might also be useful in Office 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2019.