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On a hunch, Maggie Timmons sent me an Excel tip. Maggie used to be our office manager but now manages Train-O-Rama, their family owned tourist attraction in Marblehead. She knew this tip would come in handy for me someday.

At the time, I popped the tip into my Memonic filing cabinet. (Read about Memonic here. I love this service so much that I recently upgraded to a paid account.)

When we reached year end and it was time to recreate some of the annual spreadsheets we use I remembered the tip and went back to my Memonic folders to find the details.

We have one very long complicated spreadsheet that helps us manages a part of our business. It does what we want it to do, but remembering what the formula in each cell is actually accomplishing can be quite a challenge. We added a column that provided explanations for the cells in that row, but that created its own problems. Maggie’s tip came to the rescue.

This tip allows you to put information – notes, explanations, etc. – right in the formula line of your Excel spreadsheet. Here’s a simple example:

Excel Formula Notes

As you can see, after the Excel formula, simply add the note using the following convention (where the gold text indicates your unique text):

+N(“add your note here“)

It’s incredibly easy and I’ve found it to be incredibly useful. Try it yourself on your next complicated (or not so complicated) spreadsheet. When you go back to the spreadsheet next week or next month, you’ll be glad you took the time to add the notes. Oh, and thanks again, Maggie!


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