Cannot Edit Notes in MS Excel for Mac

New Contributor

Good morning.  I am running version 16.43 of MS Excel for Mac (Office 365).  I have a spreadsheet I have been using for around 20 years.  In the spreadsheet I insert Notes on certain cells.  In the past when I wanted to edit a note I have always used right-click then "Edit Note" and this has always worked correctly.  A week or two ago it stopped working.


I have read on several message boards and tried to resolve the problem.  Have copy-pasted the whole sheet into a new workbook.  The problem persisted.  Have saved as .xls instead of .xlsx.  The problem persisted.  Used the Review tab and tried to Edit Note that way.  The problem persisted.  I increased the column width.  The problem persisted.


I checked, and other sheets in the same workbook have notes and I can edit them normally.  Also in other workbooks.  This particular sheet is the only one with the problem, but it has many notes and they are important to me.


Thank you in advance for your help.



7 Replies

@ndylanray Perhaps you accidentally protected the sheet.

@Riny_van_Eekelen , thank you for your help, but the sheet is not protected nor the workbook.  I can delete entire worksheets, delete contents of cells, add new notes, delete notes,, etc.  I just cannot edit existing notes.

@ndylanray Can't find any setting that would affect only notes in a particular sheet. Perhaps a bug in a recent update. You can send feedback to MS. 

Screenshot 2020-12-07 at 11.04.22.png

@ndylanray did you get resolution to this? I have just had the exact thing happen with a spreadsheet I have been using for years with many notes also...

The only way I managed to go around this problem was:

1. Import file Excel to GoogleSheets,

2. Select all cells

3. Edit > Clear Notes 

4. Export file with .xlsx extension

In my case, all formatting was preserved. I hope it helps. 

(Clearly, something needs to be done to correct this)


Office 365

Excel on Mac



With Excel 365 on Windows I periodically have similar problems. Although the cell-marker for the presence of a Note remains unaffected, Notes may not display on_hover, the option to edit or delete a Note may not be offered, a Note's display_frame may show but with no content or colour yet blanking the covered area of the sheet, exercising the Review tab option to Display all notes has no effect - though this may have some self-limiting setting (for which I haven't checked) when there are a great many notes. The problems are not confined to a particular worksheet or workbook, and don't necessarily affect all open sheets or books. I've never found a cause. However, it's usually the case that if I close all instances of Excel and re-open the offending worksheet normal behaviour returns. On occasion I think it may have been necessary to restart the machine - but I haven't stopped to log details.

I have exactly the same problem - it's present on two different Macs that share the same spreadsheet. This problem has come and gone (and come back) over the last couple of years. I have't found the cause or a solution. Any help would be appreciated.