Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Adding an Equal Sign Tool.

Adding an Equal Sign Tool

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 27, 2017)


Are you upgrading from an older version of Excel to Excel 2007? If your old version is old enough (Excel 97 or Excel 2000), you may notice a change in the tools around the Formula bar. In your old version there may have been an equal sign tool next to the Formula bar that you could click instead of having to enter the equal sign. Clicking the equal sign tool would also add an equal sign in front of whatever was already in the cell, without deleting the cell contents.

You won't find this equal sign tool in Excel 2007. In fact, it was done away with beginning with Excel 2002. You can, if you desire, add an equal sign tool to the Quick Access toolbar. (You can't add it to the Formula bar itself, as in your old version of Excel.) Follow these steps:

  1. Click the Office button, then click Excel Options. Excel displays the Excel Options dialog box.
  2. Click the Customize option at the left side of the dialog box.
  3. Using the Choose Commands From drop-down list, choose Commands Not In The Ribbon.
  4. Scroll through the Commands list to find the equal sign tool.
  5. Click Add. The tool is moved to the right side of the dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  6. Figure 1. The Customize option of the Excel Options dialog box.

  7. Click OK to close the Excel Options dialog box. The tool now appears in the Quick Access Toolbar.

The equal sign tool can be used to enter an equal sign at the beginning of the Formula bar. It doesn't completely function like the old tool, as it won't add an equal sign to the beginning of the existing cell contents, and you can't place the tool right next to the Formula bar.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (6133) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Adding an Equal Sign Tool.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is 1 + 5?

2017-01-27 21:44:03

Don Cameron

At last, someone who may be able to help me.
I'm looking for a full list - if it exists, of keyboard shortcuts for Excel as they were available on Excel 2003.
For example to fill a series 1 to 50, I place 1 in A1, Shade down to A50 and key Alt-E-I-S-Enter ie Alt Edit, Fill, Series, Enter.
There are others that I use too, but I would love to have a list of the expanded menus to be able to work out other shortcuts, as long as MS supports them.

2015-10-20 06:38:19

nadia abas

Hi I cannot use =text or =vlookup in my excel 2010... This is for my new laptop... What should I adjust so I can do my formulas since I am doing database building.

Please help

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