Formula Bar

Learn all about the Excel Formula Bar. Discover how to use, expand, show, and hide quickly through examples.

What is the Formula Bar in Excel?

The Formula Bar is the place where you can edit data or formulas in the selected cell.

For example, if you want to check the formula in the active cell, the Formula Bar displays the expression.

excel formula bar guide

Resize, Expand or Collapse the Formula Bar

You can expand the Formula Bar in both directions (vertical, horizontal) if more space is necessary.

If you want to increase the size of the Formula bar horizontally, locate the divider. The divider split the Name box and the Formula bar into two variable-size sections. Adjust the bar size when your cursor turns into a double arrow by holding down the left mouse button.

When you have reached the given size, release the mouse button.

resize the formula bar

Are you working with a long formula? No problem. You can increase the Formula Bar size vertically. The method is almost the same as the steps mentioned earlier. The only difference is: you have to move the cursor until the bottom of the bar.

increase the formula bar size vertically

If you are familiar with Excel Shortcuts, use the Ctrl + Shift + U keyboard shortcut to quickly expand or collapse the Formula Bar.

expand and collapse

Show or hide the Formula Bar

It can happen that the Formula Bar does not appear. For beginner Excel users, it can be scary. So let us see how to show or hide it using a checkbox.

Steps to hide or unhide the Formula Bar in Excel:

  1. Select the View Tab on the ribbon
  2. Locate the Show Group
  3. Make sure that the checkbox is checked
show or hide the formula bar in Excel

You can switch on or off the Formula Bar using this method.

Enter a function using the Insert Function Dialog Box

Inserting a new function is an easy task in Excel.

Click on the Formula icon, and the Insert Function Dialog Box will appear.

Enter a function using the Insert Function Dialog Box

Tip: The fastest way to open the dialog box is using the Shift + F3 shortcut to open the Insert Function dialog box.

Add value to a Text Box using the Formula Bar

You have an inserted text box in the example, and you want to add a linked cell.

  1. Select the text box frame (don’t click inside the text box, if the cursor is not blinking, the selection is OK)
  2. Click on the formula bar and type an equal sign (=)
  3. Choose the cell that contains the value
  4. Press Enter
Add value to a Text Box using the Formula Bar

After that, you can format the text box, align the number, add background color, and so on. This method also works for shapes.

Wrapping things up

This guide explained that the Formula Bar is a versatile tool with some useful functions. However, if you want to learn more about Excel, we recommend you the following articles:

Istvan Vozar

Istvan is the co-founder of Visual Analytics. He helps people reach the top in Excel.