To leave a comment in a formula that returns a numeric result, you can use the N function. In the example shown, the formula in F9 is:

=SUM(F5:F8)+N("Q4 numbers are estimates")

Generic formula



This is a tricky use of N() that allows you to use it as a way to leave in-cell comments. It only works for formulas that return numeric results.

The N function takes a value and returns a number. When given a text value, the N function returns zero.

In this case, the primary formula the SUM function, and the N function simply evaluates the comment text and returns zero:

=SUM(F5:F8)+N("Q4 numbers are estimates")
=SUM(F5:F8) + 0

The comment is visible in the formula bar when the cell is selected.

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Dave Bruns

Hi - I'm Dave Bruns, and I run Exceljet with my wife, Lisa. Our goal is to help you work faster in Excel. We create short videos, and clear examples of formulas, functions, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and charts.