How to Use the Excel Formula Bar

Show or Hide the Formula Bar

1. Using the View Tab

  • Go to the View tab.
  • In the Show group, select Formula Bar to display it.
  • Deselect it to hide the Formula Bar.

Showing the Excel Formula Bar using the View tab

2. Keyboard Shortcut

  • Press the shortcut keys Alt + W + V + F sequentially to hide or show the Formula Bar.

Hiding the Formula Bar using Keyboard Shortcut

Expand or Collapse the Formula Bar

You have a few options:

  • Mouse Cursor:
    • Hover your mouse cursor between the Name Box and the Formula Bar.
    • Drag it left to expand or right to collapse the Formula Bar horizontally.
  • Vertical Adjustment:
    • Position your cursor under the Formula Bar.
    • Drag downward to expand or upward to contract it vertically.
  • Toggle Button:
    • On the right side of the Formula Bar, there’s a toggle button.
    • Click it to expand or collapse the Formula Bar.
    • Alternatively, press Ctrl + Shift + U.

expand or collapse Excel formula bar

Enter and Edit Data in the Formula Bar

  • Entering Data:
    • Select a cell.
    • Enter your data directly into the Formula Bar.
    • Click the green checkmark to accept or the red cross to cancel.
  • Editing Data:
    • Click the cell containing data.
    • Edit it directly in the Formula Bar.

enter and edit data using Excel formula bar

Read More: How to Show and Hide Formula Bar in Excel

Insert a Function Using the Formula Bar

  • Select Output Cell:
    • Choose the cell where you want the result.
    • Press the Insert Function button (fx symbol).

insert function dialog box

  • Select Function:
    • Pick a function from the list.
    • Press OK.
  • Specify Arguments:
    • Provide the necessary arguments.
    • Press OK.

function arguments dialog box

  • This is the final output.

final output of insert function option of the formula bar

Connecting Shapes from the Formula Bar

  • Linking Shapes:
    • Click on a shape.
    • In the Formula Bar, enter “=” (equals sign).
    • Select another cell to link the shape with data.

Linking with a shape using the Excel Formula Bar

Download Practice Workbook

You can download the practice workbook from here:

Important Tips

  • Always start formulas with the equal sign (=) in the Excel Formula Bar.
  • In Excel 365, hover over any part of a formula to see its calculated value. In older versions, select a portion and press F9.
  • Use absolute cell references (e.g., $A$1) to prevent formulas from changing unintentionally.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I Change the Font Size in the Formula Bar?
    • Yes! Go to File > Options > Accessibility.
    • Adjust the font size under Document display options.
    • Restart Excel to apply the change.
  2. What Are the Usable Keyboard Shortcuts in the Formula Bar?
    • F2: Enable edit mode.
    • F4: Toggle between relative, absolute, and hybrid cell referencing.
    • Ctrl + A: Select all contents.
    • Ctrl + C: Cut contents.
    • Ctrl + V: Paste contents.
    • Ctrl + X: Cut contents.
    • Ctrl + Z: Undo.
    • Ctrl + Y: Redo.
    • Ctrl + Home: Move cursor to the far left.
    • Ctrl + End: Move cursor to the far right.
    • Ctrl + Right Arrow: Move cursor one word right.
    • Ctrl + Left Arrow: Move cursor one word left.
    • Shift + F3: Open the Insert Function dialog box.
    • Ctrl + Shift + U: Expand or collapse the Formula Bar.

Excel Formula Bar: Knowledge Hub

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Rafiul Haq
Rafiul Haq

Rafiul Haq worked as an Excel and VBA Content Developer in Exceldemy for over two years and published almost 200 articles for the website. He is passionate about exploring new aspects of Excel and VBA. He received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical and Production Engineering (MPE) from the Islamic University of Technology. Rafiul furthered his education by obtaining an MBA in Finance from the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) at the University of Dhaka. Apart from creating... Read Full Bio

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