Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. 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: Forcing Editing to Be Done in a Cell.

Forcing Editing to Be Done in a Cell

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated November 16, 2019)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


Rodolfo knows that he can configure Excel to allow editing in both the Formula bar and the cell itself, but he wants to configure it so that editing can be done only in the cell, not in the Formula bar.

There is no way to do this in Excel. The closest you can come is to make sure that cell editing is enabled (so that editing can be done in either the Formula bar or the cell) and then hiding the Formula bar. You can hide the Formula bar by these steps:

  1. Display the Excel Options dialog box. (In Excel 2007 click the Office button and then click Excel Options. In Excel 2010 or a later version, display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click Advanced at the left side of the dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Advanced options in the Excel Options dialog box.

  4. In the Display section of the options, clear the Show Formula Bar check box.
  5. Click on OK.

If you prefer, you can also programmatically turn off the Formula bar for a specific worksheet. You can do this by using the following two macros, which should be assigned to the code for the specific worksheet you want to affect. (You can display the proper code window by right-clicking the worksheet's tab and selecting View Code from the resulting Context menu.)

Private Sub Worksheet_Activate()
    Application.DisplayFormulaBar = False
End Sub
Private Sub Worksheet_Deactivate()
    Application.DisplayFormulaBar = True
End Sub

The first macro turns off the Formula bar when the worksheet is activated, and the second turns it back on when the worksheet is deactivated (when another worksheet is selected).

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 (9095) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Forcing Editing to Be Done in a Cell.

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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