How to Display a Tooltip in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

To display a tooltip in Excel, simply select the cell where you want the tooltip to appear, go to the ‘Review’ tab, click on ‘New Comment’, type your tooltip text, and press enter. Now, when you hover over the cell, your tooltip will pop up with your specified text.

After completing this action, anytime someone hovers their mouse pointer over the cell, a small text box will appear, providing additional information or context related to that cell’s content.


Excel is a powerful tool used by millions around the world for data analysis, accounting, and more. One handy feature in Excel is the ability to add tooltips—those little pop-up texts that appear when you hover over a cell. They’re called comments or notes in Excel. Now, why would you want to use tooltips? Imagine you have a spreadsheet full of numbers; tooltips can be used to provide context, explain what the numbers mean, or offer instructions to the user.

This feature is incredibly relevant for anyone who shares their spreadsheets with others, especially in a professional or educational setting. It’s a way of embedding extra information without cluttering up your workspace. So, whether you’re a teacher, a financial analyst, or a project manager, knowing how to effectively use tooltips in Excel can make your spreadsheets more informative and user-friendly.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Display a Tooltip in Excel

Before we dive into the steps, it’s important to note that by following this tutorial, you’ll be able to add a comment or note to a cell. This comment will then act as a tooltip, providing additional information when hovered over.

Step 1: Select the Cell

Select the cell where you want the tooltip to appear.

Choosing the right cell is crucial as it determines where your tooltip will be displayed. Make sure it’s the most relevant cell related to the information you want to show in the tooltip.

Step 2: Go to the ‘Review’ Tab

Navigate to the ‘Review’ tab on the Excel ribbon.

The ‘Review’ tab is where you can find various tools to add comments, notes, and other forms of annotations to your Excel spreadsheet.

Step 3: Click on ‘New Comment’

Click on the ‘New Comment’ option in the ‘Review’ tab.

‘New Comment’ is the feature that allows you to add a tooltip to the selected cell. In newer versions of Excel, this might be labeled as ‘New Note’.

Step 4: Type Your Tooltip Text

Type the text that you want to appear in the tooltip.

This text should be informative and concise. It’s what others will see when they hover over the cell, so make sure it adds value and is clear.

Step 5: Press Enter

After typing your text, press enter to finalize the tooltip.

Pressing Enter will save your comment/note. Now when you or someone else hovers over the cell, the tooltip you created will display.


ClarityTooltips can provide clarity by explaining what the data in a cell represents, thus reducing confusion for those who view your spreadsheet.
EfficiencyBy providing additional context, tooltips can save time that would otherwise be spent explaining the data to every individual who views the spreadsheet.
Space-savingTooltips allow you to give more information without adding clutter or additional text in the spreadsheet itself, keeping it clean and easy to navigate.


OverrelianceRelying too much on tooltips can lead to important information being overlooked if the user does not hover over the cell.
Print LimitationTooltips are not visible when a spreadsheet is printed, which may cause loss of context in hard copies.
Possible AnnoyanceIf excessively used, tooltips can become annoying and distracting for users who are familiar with the spreadsheet’s content.

Additional Information

While tooltips are an excellent way to add context to your Excel sheets, there are a few additional points to consider. Firstly, always ensure that the tooltip text is relevant and adds value. Overloading every cell with a tooltip can make the sheet cumbersome to navigate. Secondly, remember that tooltips in Excel aren’t suited for lengthy explanations.

If you find yourself needing more room, it might be better to link to an external document or include a separate sheet with detailed information. Also, consider the aesthetics of your tooltips. Keep the text formatting simple and readable. Lastly, think about accessibility. Not everyone will necessarily know to hover over a cell for more information, so consider including a brief instruction somewhere on your sheet.


  1. Select the cell for the tooltip.
  2. Navigate to the ‘Review’ tab.
  3. Click ‘New Comment’.
  4. Type your tooltip text.
  5. Press Enter to save.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I format the text in the tooltip?

Yes, basic text formatting options are available for tooltips in Excel, such as bold, italics, and underline.

Will the tooltip be visible if I print the spreadsheet?

No, tooltips do not appear in printed documents. They are only visible on screen.

Can I add a tooltip to multiple cells at once?

No, tooltips have to be added individually to each cell.

Is there a character limit for tooltips in Excel?

Yes, there is a character limit, but it is quite high—around 32,000 characters.

Can I add images to my tooltips?

No, Excel’s tooltip feature only supports text. However, you can add a comment with an image separately.


Mastering the use of tooltips in Excel can be a game-changer for anyone looking to make their spreadsheets more informative and user-friendly. By following the steps outlined in this article, you’ll be able to add meaningful context to your data, making your Excel workbooks not only more functional but also more intuitive for others to use.

Remember, the key is to provide value without overwhelming your audience. Use tooltips judiciously, and you’ll find that they can significantly enhance the effectiveness of your Excel spreadsheets. So go ahead, give it a try—your colleagues and clients will thank you for that extra layer of clarity.

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