Displaying Excel’s Developer Tab

The user interface in modern versions of Excel-first introduced in Excel 2007-can be confusing, especially to those who have long used the interface of previous versions of the program. The new interface 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 2007, follow these steps:

  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 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Popular options of the Excel Options dialog box.

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

If you are using Excel 2010 the steps are different:

  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 2.)
  5. Figure 2. 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.

The developer tab should now be visible on the ribbon.