Displaying Excel's Developer Tab

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 31, 2022)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


The user interface in Excel uses a "ribbon" type of interface, visible at the top of the screen. The ribbon is made up of different tabs, each of which contains a collection of related tools. The tabs that are visible often depend on what you are doing in Excel at the moment.

One tab that is especially necessary for advanced users is the Developer tab. This tab contains a variety of tools that allow you to "develop" and customize Excel. Of particular importance is the fact that the Developer tab contains tools that allow you to create and access macros.

The Developer tab is not contextual in nature; it should always be visible on the ribbon. If it is not visible, that means you have not configured Excel to display it. (The Developer tab is not visible in a default installation of Excel.) To display the tab if you are using Excel 2010 or a later version of the the program, follow these steps:

  1. Display the File tab of the ribbon.
  2. Click Options. Excel displays the Excel Options dialog box.
  3. Click Customize Ribbon at the left side of the dialog box.
  4. Using the Customize the Ribbon drop-down list (right side of the dialog box, near the top), choose Main Tabs. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The options for customizing the ribbon.

  6. At the right side of the dialog box make sure a check mark appears in the checkbox to the left of the Developer option.
  7. Click OK.

If you are still using Excel 2007, the steps are different:

  1. Click the Office button and then click Excel Options. Excel displays the Excel Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure that Popular is selected at the left side of the dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  3. Figure 2. The Popular options of the Excel Options dialog box.

  4. Ensure the Show Developer Tab in Ribbon check box is selected.
  5. Click OK.

The Developer tab should now be visible on the ribbon.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (6747) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

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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