Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Turning Off Insert Options.

Turning Off Insert Options

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 31, 2015)


Excel includes a feature that allows you to modify how you insert rows, columns, or cells in your worksheet. When you insert any of these, Excel displays a small, floating "button" right near the inserted row, column, or cell. The button, called "Insert Options," has a small paintbrush on it, similar to the Format Painter tool. Click the button, and Excel displays some options about how the inserted row, column, or cell should be formatted.

If you find the Insert Options button distracting, or if you never use it, you may want to turn it off. Follow these steps:

  1. Display the Excel Options dialog box. (In Excel 2007 click the Office button and then click Excel Options. In Excel 2010 and later versions, display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. At the left of the dialog box click Advanced.
  3. Scroll through the available options until you see the section named Cut, Copy, and Paste. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The advanced options of the Excel Options dialog box.

  5. Clear the Show Insert Options Buttons check box.
  6. Click on OK.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (6258) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Turning Off Insert Options.

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 five more than 3?

2017-03-03 05:00:58


Thanks for the help. Not wanting to subscribe, though. Thanks anyway.

2017-01-13 00:42:47


Perfect. Many Thanks

2016-09-08 08:25:30

Chris Wall

On a Mac, at least in Excel 2011, click Excel / Preferences. Then, under Authoring, click Edit.

When Excel displays the Excel Preferences dialog box, clear the checkmarks from either or both of the following:

- Show Paste Options smart buttons
- Show Insert Options smart buttons

2016-08-18 13:40:14


Thank you so much!!

2016-08-02 15:06:41


This was helpful. Thanks!

2016-07-17 14:51:17


"...display the File tab of the ribbon" is a meaningless statement. What is a "File Tab"? What is a "ribbon?" There is nothing on my screen called "File tab" and nothing looks like a ribbon. I've worked with lots of software, so I'm not a beginner. Where ever this thing is you MUST describe it by identifying things that are labeled: FILE menu, for example, is easy to find because there is a big word "FILE" at the top of my screen. There is nothing that reads "file tab." Do you understand?

2016-07-05 15:37:35


Not only did this not tell me how to find "options" in excel 2011, but once I googled that and learned preferences is options in mac, it still didn't work.

2016-06-20 15:21:31


I had to exit excel and restart it before this change took effect.

2016-06-03 09:08:55


I wish this had worked. That paintbrush is so annoying. I'll keep looking for the answer to get rid of it.

2016-02-03 22:05:00


Thank you. The paintbrush icon was a real nuisance and now it's gone thanks to this clearly written tip.

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