Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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: Controlling Display of the Formula Bar.

Controlling Display of the Formula Bar

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 3, 2016)


The Formula Bar is the area at the top of the Excel window, just below the ribbon area or the Formatting toolbar, depending on your version of Excel. The Formula Bar has two parts: at the left is the Name Box, and to the right is the contents of the currently selected cell.

If you need more room to view a worksheet, or you don't need the information provided by the Formula Bar, you can turn it off. To control display of the Formula Bar, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Office button and then click Excel Options. Excel displays the Excel Options dialog box.
  2. At the left side of the dialog box click Advanced.
  3. Scroll down until you see the Display options. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Advanced options of the Excel Options dialog box.

  5. Click on the Show Formula Bar check box. If it is selected, then the Formula Bar is displayed; not selected means it won't be displayed.
  6. Click on OK.

You can also use the Formula Bar option from the View tab of the ribbon. This option functions like a toggle—click on it once and the Formula Bar disappears; click again and it reappears.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (7558) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Controlling Display of the Formula Bar.

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 2 + 1?

2016-05-25 06:42:06


like previous person, every time I click any cell, it jumps to File and i need to keep selecting Home to then select Copy/Paste or whatever.
How can i keep the Formula tab there all the time, this never used to happen.

2015-12-07 12:24:58

Christopher Tipping

Are you able to tell me what to do when the contents of the formula bar is unreadable because the typeface has changed to yellow when I want it to be black i,e, normal? I run excel 2007 on WIN 2007. Many thanks.

2015-11-04 05:38:13


thank you .very nice

2015-09-14 12:58:47

Greg Holladay

Working with a classroom PC (or workstation, not sure which) while teaching a high-level intro to Excel for a local charitable organization, I encountered an issue with the 'Home' tab I'd never seen before. It kept switching back to the 'File' tab and, whenever I attempted to select the 'Home' tab, the formula bar would cover the first 2 or 3 rows on the worksheet. Does anyone know what might be causing this issue? I've never seen anything quite like it before. I'm hoping it might be a setting inadvertently selected by a student in a prior class as none of the PCs/workstations had the same issue.

2015-08-27 06:37:40


@Bernard Liengme, very nice trick. Thank you.

2015-08-26 08:07:47


I need to view formula bar in only some of the workbooks. How could I do it. If I click view formula bar it will happen in every workbook.

2015-02-11 23:52:33

Jerry Van Herrin

I'm glad I found your site. I've been cussing Excel and Microsoft ever since they started with the "Ribbon." Now I can get back some screen space for my document.

The Ribbon is a feature???

2013-06-17 07:47:42


Alex, I don't see how your version is easier to read. Line breaks certainly stand out more than single spaces.

2013-06-15 12:22:48


Bernard, Try this way instead (blank spaces):
=IF(A1=1,this, IF(A1=2,that, & others)

2013-06-15 06:32:42

Bernard Liengme

Yesterday I discovered that you can use ALT+ENTER in a FORMULA in the formula bar (I use it with text quite often).
This makes a long formula easier to read
IF(A1=1, do-this,
IF(A1=2, do-another-thing,
IF(A1=3, tell-us-its-three,
"none of these"

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