Foot Your Financials in Excel

BY J. CARLTON COLLINS

Q: We produce financial statements from Excel, but typing the footnotes at the bottom of the financial statements is a headache because Excel does not offer word wrap, outlining or other word processing features. We have tried using different solutions such as Excel’s Justify command, and pasting from Word, but these solutions fall short, especially when edits are needed. Is there a better approach?

 

A: Embedding a Word document in Excel as an object is a solution that provides Word processing functionality within Excel. To embed a Word document in an Excel 2003, 2007 or 2010 worksheet, select Object from the Insert tab or menu, then select Microsoft Word Document and click OK. Use the mouse to resize and reposition the resulting embedded Word document object underneath the financial statement (or in the appropriate position) as pictured below.

 

The resulting embedded Word object will allow you to type using the same word processing functionality provided by Word, such as outline numbering, paragraph justification, indenting and Word shortcuts (such as Shift+F3 to change case). When you click away from the Word object, the Word menus disappear and the Excel menus return to normal. Double-clicking on the Word object reactivates the embedded object, allowing you to further edit its contents using word processing functionality.

 

To finalize your footnotes, consider adding the following finishing touches:

 

1. Font. For consistency, change the footnote font to match the font used in the financial statements.

 

2. Border. Click away from the Word box to deactivate the object, and click the Word box once to select it. Right-click on the edge of the Word object to display the pop-up menu, and select Format Object. On the Colors and Lines tab, click the Line Color dropdown arrow and select No Line, and click OK.

 

Once printed, the resulting footnotes will appear seamlessly at the bottom of the financial reports, as shown below (note that this is not the same as a footer and does not behave like a footer when printing).

 

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