notes attached to cells not visible, broken since last excel update (Office 365 on Mac)

Occasional Visitor

I've got many notes (the yellow non-threaded formerly called comments) in my excel sheets. Since the latest software update I can not display/view my notes anymore.

The cells containing note still show the red triangle-mark, but the note does not show up when I mouse over. By clicking "show all notes" in the ribbon menu, it will just only show the connection lines between cell and invisible note rectangle. But I can not access view or even edit the notes.

Also right click on the cell -> edit note does not show anything.


is there a fix or at least a workaround existing?





macos: high sierra,

excel (office 365) version 16.21.1 (190123)

11 Replies

I have just discovered the same issue.  No option to add or edit notes either ... only comments (which I don't need).

I have same issue.  It looks like MS was nudging users off the old yellow notes feature (which I use a LOT) toward the "comments" side-bar approach.  I hate it when developers get a "good idea" and force us to change, especially with no notice or transition support.  This is a HUGE pain.  But, will MS notice?  I doubt it.

I have faced this problem recently.

Only "Delete Note" option is available in context menu.

If you want to add a new note, please go to the Review menu, the Note option is listed there.


I have had this problem too.  What I found worked was to copy the cell to a new tab.  The Note will show up there (though I had to move the frame buttons to make the square visible).  Then I copied the cell back to the original tab.  This fixed the issue for me.  Hope this helps.

@Carol Van Valkenburg 


Update:  I realize this is an old thread, but I 'Unhid' all the rows.  After I did that, I was able to right click and edit the notes.


I am using a PC but have been having a very similar issue.  I have discovered that when I open my SS I can hover over the red triangle and the Note contents will show.  But, as soon as I access a hyperlink... and return to my SS... the Note will no longer display when I hover.  My only work around is to close and then re-open my SS.

I have reported this twice.  But, so far... no response.


I went into - review - notes - drop down and selected "convert to comments"

There will be a column that will open and as you select the cell where the note/comment is, the comment box will be highlighted...

Not what we want like before, be that sort of works.

Thanks @simmed 


Actually, I reported the problem to Microsoft.  Then a couple weeks ago I received an email saying I had a private message from them.  I could never find the message.  But, then I noticed the problem was fixed.  I can now hover over and view the contents of the note.  Even after I have accessed a hyperlink.  I then remembered that there was a MS update a few days previous to the email from MS.  So, maybe that was the fix.  Not sure.  But it works now.  So, I am happy!!

I know this post is old, but we just had this issue. We're on Windows 10 Pro, with Microsoft 365. The line for the note was visible, but nothing suggested here worked for us. My coworker decided to click and drag to the right on the line, basically like it was a textbox collapsed and IT WORKED. The note was there, just squished into one line on the left.
I have dozens of yellow sticky Notes on each of my Excel worksheets. None of them displays upon mousing over. This is been going on for several months. There are no lines drawn to squished notes - I am familiar with that situation. The notes simply do not appear, rather they flash on and off a Split Second when the mouse hovers. I do not see why I need to go to some panel click to show notes in order to read these what happened to the old-fashioned way of having them come up upon mousing? And yes, I have the proper setting in Options Advanced ...display on Hover. Running 365, and have the latest updates.
Follow up to my above complaint:
Despite MS setting automatically to Update 365 as needed, and my running the update again a day or two ago, I since discovered a slew of uninstalled updates in a list - buried by MS somewhere out of sight... named "NON-ESSENTIAL" or similar... These dated back a couple of YEARS. Downloaded and Installed them, Restart, etc. -- Notes now appear upon mouse hover ~~ Additionally, the frequent interminable waits to Save - Excel "Not Responding" seem to have ceased.
Lesson learned - look for MS's Uninstalleds and put them in...