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: Enlarging the Formula Bar.

Enlarging the Formula Bar

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 14, 2015)

2

When you select a cell in a worksheet, the contents of that cell are shown in the Formula bar. If the contents are longer than what can be displayed in a single line on the Formula bar, the depth of the Formula bar increases so that the entire formula can be displayed. When you move to another cell, the Formula bar again decreases in depth to a single line.

The problem with an automatically adjusting Formula bar is that it can obscure other elements on the screen. If the Formula bar takes up two or three lines of depth, it overlays the column headers and other cells in the worksheet. This can be distracting, at times.

There are two ways around this. The first is to make the size of the Formula bar static and the other is to turn off the Formula bar completely.

Excel allows you to modify the number of lines used by the Formula bar. That way it will always take a specific amount of space and you won't be bothered by it jumping around as much. To expand the Formula bar (so you can see everything it contains), click the tool at the very right edge of the Formula bar. When you hover the mouse pointer over the tool, the ToolTip says "Expand Formula Bar." (In Excel 2013, it'll be the small arrow icon that expands the formula bar.)

Another option is to simply turn off the Formula bar completely. (If you have no Formula bar displayed, then it cannot expand and obscure information in the worksheet.) If you want to turn off the Formula bar completely, 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 options until you see the Display section. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Display section of the Advanced options in the Excel Options dialog box.

  5. Clear the Show Formula Bar check box.
  6. Click on OK.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11705) 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: Enlarging 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Sorting Letters and Numbers

Sorting information in a worksheet can be confusing when Excel applies sorting rules of which you are unaware. This is ...

Discover More

Creating a Sort Order

Excel is very flexible in how it can sort your data. You can even create your own custom sort order that is helpful when ...

Discover More

Quickly Displaying the Tabs Dialog Box

Setting tabs in a paragraph is a common task. This is most easily done by using the Tabs dialog box. Displaying the dialog ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Disabling Shift+Ctrl

Both Excel and Windows have scores of defined shortcut keys. This can be great for productivity, but it can be a real pain if ...

Discover More

Adding an Equal Sign Tool

In older versions of Excel (97 and 2000) the program had an equal sign tool that appeared right next to the Formula bar. If ...

Discover More

Turning Off Insert Options

When you insert rows, columns, or cells in a worksheet, does the resulting Insert Options icon bother you? Here's how to get ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 8Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 6 - 4?

2016-03-08 09:28:38

Rick

How do I get my Excel 2016 to do what this tip is working around? I want the formula bar to automatically expand when the formula is longer than a single line. That's what my old version did. I liked it that way.
I have the arrow at the right end that forces the expansion, but then it stays that size and eats up my work space.


2015-11-14 07:39:48

Trevor

Or, you could just uncheck Formula Bar in the View Ribbon in Excel 2007 and above :). Can't remember what you have in 2003 and prior.


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.