Enlarging the Formula Bar

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.