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Adding Pop-Up Documentation to a Cell

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Adding Pop-Up Documentation to a Cell.

Want a neat trick you can use to make your worksheets more helpful to users? How about adding a pop-up window that displays documentation whenever the cell is selected? To add such a feature, follow these steps:

  1. Select the cell for which you want the pop-up to appear.
  2. Choose Validation from the Data menu.
  3. Make sure the Input Message tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Input Message tab of the Data Validation dialog box.

  5. Make sure the Show Input Message When Cell is Selected check box is selected.
  6. In the Title box, enter a title for the pop-up window. (This title appears in bold at the top of the pop-up window.)
  7. In the Input Message box, enter the text of the documentation you want to appear in the pop-up window.
  8. Click OK.

There are, obviously, other ways you can use the Data Validation feature of Excel to check and limit the data that is entered in a cell. However, if you follow the steps above, all data is still accepted, and Excel displays a helpful message whenever the cell is selected.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3361) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Adding Pop-Up Documentation to a Cell.

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Comments for this tip:

Shady Mohsen    10 Nov 2015, 01:25
Check this trick also for using hyperlinks to create a popup text documentation on hover.

Shady Mohsen    10 Nov 2015, 01:23
Very nice trick.
Rui    11 Aug 2015, 05:43
Great tip!
Is there any way that instead of a fixed text we may use a variable text? For example, a cell reference where the text to display is stored.
This way it would be easier to manage help texts
Sean    30 Jul 2015, 10:43
awesome...more tips to come!!!
Carmel Reid    19 Dec 2014, 03:28
Thanks for this tip - it works beautifully but for some reason the pop up for each column heading appears only in one place on my screen - can I change this so it pops up beside each cell I click on? It did to start with but I'm wondering if I clicked on something to make it static (staying in one place) thanks, Carmel
Dhaiva    31 Oct 2014, 03:15
Yearly Jan Feb Mar Total
10 5 5
10 10
10 0 0 15 15

the yearly should be equal to total figures and if not agree I receive a pop up message in excel 2007

can anyone help
Fadzil    25 Oct 2013, 06:33
I want to have a pop-up of image like tool_tip when the mouse move over the cell...
can anyone give me tips...
jose    28 May 2013, 11:16
Your tip was short and to the point..just what I needed..
thanks for sharing
Gopi    07 Feb 2013, 10:50
Really which is very helpful. . .thanks a lot
pratik    28 Dec 2012, 06:38

I want to insert a pop-up table in an excel cell. Please let me know how can I do it.
Example: If i select a cell I want an editable pop up table with some fixed values and editable values. Is that possible ?
Please let me know at the earliest.

Galina    12 Apr 2012, 04:35
WOW! Thanks a lot! Finally, I found the info I needed! As simple as it is, took me forever in Google to find an answer
Alan    27 Dec 2011, 06:59
Hi Allen
You can achieve a similar result using cell comments. I've used this method to add pop-up help to column headers on flat data entry sheets.

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