Google Sheets has recently enhanced its cell commenting ability to include the option of inserting a “Note” or a “Comment.” The differences between the two are not obvious. Following is an overview of what they do and how to choose which one you should use. Follow along with the linked Google Sheet used to create this article.
Both comment and note can be selected by right-clicking on the cell (if you’re using a mouse on a Windows PC).
Use the Note function to leave a simple note in the cell just like you would with Excel’s comment function. With Note, you can simply add information about the cell. Only use this if it doesn’t make sense to add the note directly into the cell. Notes can be helpful, but if they are not needed, they add unneeded complexity. Often, users will overlook notes and only notice information that is typed into cells, so use them only when called for.
The Comment functionality is Note on steroids. Notes are usually sufficient if one user is creating and viewing a spreadsheet. However, if you have multiple users, especially in different physical locations, the Comment functionality can be very helpful. It enables users to have a back and forth conversation about a cell without altering its contents. The Comment functionality can be especially useful in a supervisor/staff relationship where one person is reviewing another’s work.
In summary, use the note function when you want to leave a quick note and nothing else. Use comment if you want to start a conversation with someone else about a cell.