The Secret Way to add Comments in Excel

We all know how to add a comment to a cell (those big yellow notes that pop up when you hover over a cell) - right click and select “Insert Comment” or Shift + F2. But sometimes a comment on the cell level isn’t enough, for example, when you have really long formulas:

I recently learned about an Excel function that allows you to add a comment inside a formula. It’s amazing if you want to remind yourself later what specific sections of a long formula are for!

While the function, “N()”, isn’t specifically designed for commenting, it’s a possible given its functionality. Officially, the “N()” function returns a value converted to a number. That probably sounds vague. If you pass the formula a date then it will return the serial number of that date. If you pass “TRUE” then the formula will return “1”. What allows you to use this function to comment is that if you pass the formula a string then it returns “0”.

To use the formula to comment, simply insert it anywhere using the + sign:

You could also use another operator, for example, * or / but just keep in mind that the formula is returning “0” and so it could have an impact on your calculation.

To learn more about the “N()” function, please see the Office Support article N function.