Make your mark in spreadsheets.

Author:Lehman, Mark W.
Position:Using Excel software tools in auditing

What do you do if you need to include explanatory comments on a complex spreadsheet, or if your audit client has given you a schedule on a spreadsheet and you want to document the audit procedures? Fortunately, Excel contains tools that perform such chores, and this article shows you how to use them.

As you know, it's possible to attach an electronic comment to any cell in a spreadsheet by placing your cursor in the target cell and clicking the right mouse button; then, in the menu that comes up, click Insert Comment (exhibit 1).


A box instantly appears addressed with your computer's default user name. Simply type your comment in the box, using typical word processing commands (exhibit 2). You can adjust the size of the box by dragging any of the eight small boxes on its edges.


When finished, click outside the comment box and it disappears, replaced by a small red triangle in the upper right corner of the cell, signifying an attached comment. If you plan to add many comments, it's more efficient to activate the Reviewing toolbar by clicking View, Toolbars, Reviewing (exhibit 3). The toolbar then hovers on the screen and is available for, among other things, creating new comments, editing existing ones and reading one after another.


You'll notice that once a comment has been entered, the New Comment button on the toolbar changes to Edit Comment, allowing you to alter the text and resize and move the box. To delete a comment, simply click on the desired cell and the Delete Comment button.

Here's what each command function of the Reviewing toolbar does:

Button ScreenTip Function ?? New Comment Enters a new comment in the active cell. ?? Edit Comment Edits text and reshapes an existing comment; replaces New Comment icon when the active cell contains a comment. ?? Previous Finds and edits the previous Comment comment. ?? Next Comment Finds and edits the next comment. ?? Show/Hide Shows or hides the comment in Comment the active cell. ?? Show/Hide All Shows or hides all comments on Comments the worksheet. ?? Delete Deletes the comment in the Comment active cell. If you wish to move the box to a different location without losing the arrow and line connecting to the cell, select Edit Comment and position your cursor on one of the box's borders. When four tiny intersecting arrows appear, drag the box to the new location. The line connecting to the cell will stretch to accommodate the new position (exhibit 4).



There are two ways to review comments: on a printed page or on the screen. If you wish to see the printed copy, click File, Page Setup. From the menu options select Sheet, and on that screen place checks in boxes for both Gridlines and Row and column headings, and press the down...

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