[Fixed!] Excel Comment Only Showing Arrow

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Have you ever faced a situation where only an arrow appears instead of the comment and you are not sure how to fix it? Then, this article can help you solve the problem because we’ll explore 4 solutions for the Excel comment only showing arrow. In addition, we’ll also learn how to show comments while hovering and about threaded comments. Lastly, we’ll compare Excel notes and comments. Let’s explore the comprehensive guide.

Excel Comment Only Showing Arrow: 4 Fixes

Let’s assume the Fruit Sales Data shown in the B4:E13 cells contains the Item, Unit Price, Quantity, and Cost of each Item respectively. Here, we want to fix the issue of the comments in the E5 and D15 cells only showing the arrows. Therefore, let’s glance at the solutions for Excel comment only showing arrow described below with easy and simple illustrations.

excel comment only showing arrow

Here, we have used the Microsoft Excel 365 version, you may use any other version according to your convenience.

📃 Note: In the Microsoft Excel 365 version, Comments now appear in threads while Notes add remarks to the data and work like the comments in earlier versions of Excel.

excel comment only showing arrow difference between comments and notes

Solution 1: Expand the Comment Box

First and foremost, let’s address the most obvious issue, that is to say, expanding the comment box to show the comment text. So, let’s begin.

📌 Steps:

  • First, go to the cell containing the comment, here it is the E5 cell >> move to the Review tab >> click the Notes drop-down >> press the Edit Note option.

Expand the Comment Box

  • Now, select the Note >> hover the cursor over the selected area >> Left Click and drag the cursor to expand the comment box.

Editing Notes

Voila! The resizing of the comment box displays the comment as shown in the image below.

Inserted Comment

Finally, apply the same technique to the comment in the D15 cell and your results should look like the picture shown below.

excel comment only showing arrow by expanding comment box

Solution 2: Switch Off Freeze Panes Option

Sometimes, the Freeze Panes option can interfere with the comments such that the comments only show the arrows. Luckily, it’s a simple fix, so let’s go through the process in the steps below.

📌 Steps:

  • To begin with, navigate to the View tab >> press the Freeze Panes drop-down >> hit the Unfreeze Panes option.

Switch Off Freeze Panes Option

Eventually, this should remove any frozen panes, and exhibit the comments as shown in the screenshot below.

excel comment only showing arrow by unfreezing panes

Solution 3: Resize Column Width

Alternatively, resizing the column width of the cells containing comments can troubleshoot the issue of comments only by showing arrows. Hence, just follow these steps.

📌 Steps:

  • In the first place, hold the CTRL key and Left Click on columns D and E to select them.
  • Next, go to the Format drop-down >> choose the Column Width option.

Resize Column Width

Now, this opens the Column Width input box.

  • Not long after, specify the Column Width, here, we’ve chosen 15 >> hit the OK button.

Specify column width

Eventually, the comments should be visible as shown in the image below.

excel comment only showing arrow by resizing column width

Solution 4: Copy the Information into a New Workbook

For one thing, the workbook you’re working with may become corrupted in some way, which may cause the comments to malfunction. Let’s discuss the possible fix to this problem in the steps below.

📌 Steps:

  • Initially, copy the dataset from the corrupted workbook using CTRL + C keys.

Copy the Information into a New Workbook

  • Following this, open a new workbook >> hit the CTRL + V keys to paste the data.

Pasting the data

Consequently, the final results should appear in the image shown below.

excel comment only showing arrow by copy and pasting to new workbook

Although, the methods above are all possible ways to resolve Excel comments only showing arrows. However, if the problem persists as the last option you can contact Microsoft Support. Here, you can find many Excel experts who will provide solutions for your particular issues.

What to Do If Comments Are Not Showing While Hovering the Cursor

Sometimes, you may hide comments in Excel permanently, and once hidden, sometimes we tend to forget how to show them again. In the following section, we’ll describe steps if comments don’t appear when hovering the cursor.

📌 Steps:

  • At the very beginning, click the File tab at the top-left corner of the Home Ribbon.

Excel Comments Not Showing on Hover

  • In turn, click the Options tab at the bottom.

go to Options

Now, this opens the Excel Options wizard.

  • At this time, click the Advanced tab >> scroll down to the Display section >> check the Indicators only, and comments and notes on hover option >> hit the OK button.

Selecting options

Lastly, hover the cursor to display the comments as shown in the following screenshot.

excel comment only showing arrow display comment on hovering

Read More: [Solved!] Comments Are Not Displaying Properly in Excel

Launch of “Threaded Comment” in the Latest Version of Excel

In Microsoft 365, the comment section has been redesigned such that comments pop up as threads. Now, the process of inserting threaded comments is simple and easy, therefore, just follow along.

📌 Steps:

  • First, jump to the cell where you want to insert a comment, in this case, we’ve chosen the E5 cell >> proceed to the Review tab >> click the New Comment button.

Threaded Comment Your Version of Excel

  • Following this, a comment box appears where you can type in the comment or reply to the comments of other users.

Threaded comment

Here, you can display or hide all the comments at once by pressing the Show Comments toggle.

Show all comments

Excel Notes Vs Comments

Lastly, in this section, we’ll explore the difference between Notes and Comments in Excel’s newer and older versions. So, let’s start.

Comments (Threaded Comments):

In essence, Comments are now threaded in Microsoft Excel 365 which means, we can review the information with other readers who have access to the spreadsheet. Importantly, a notable feature of comments is that others can reply to the comment and it can be marked as resolved once the issue has been dealt with.

Excel Notes Vs Comments


In a nutshell, Notes are similar to comments in older versions of Excel and are used to add remarks, annotations, descriptions, etc. to the dataset. However, one aspect of notes is that we can’t have a conversation with others, that is to say, people can’t reply to the note, rather it serves as a description or a reminder.

Excel Notes

Read More: Difference Between Threaded Comments and Notes in Excel

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This article describes some quick and easy fixes when Excel comments only show an arrow. Now, we hope you found it useful and will share your thoughts in the comments section.

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Eshrak Kader
Eshrak Kader

Eshrak Kader is a dedicated professional with a BSc. Degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. He boasts a rich background in Microsoft Office Suite, and over the past year, he has authored over 120 insightful articles for the ExcelDemy. Currently, Eshrak leads a team of 5 in the ExcelDemy Video project and enjoys problem-solving and making videos on Excel. Eshrak’s passion for continuous learning underscores his commitment to excellence in... Read Full Bio

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