How to Hide and Show Excel’s Formula Bar (Instantly)

In Microsoft Excel, the formula bar is where you can construct, view, edit, and review formulas for the cells of your sheet.

However, sometimes you might want the formula bar of your sheet to just disappear for a cleaner interface. Or for it to show up to have a better idea of what’s going on.

This short tutorial covers both situations. In the coming sections, I will teach you how can you instantly hide and unhide the formula bar in Excel (in just a couple of clicks).

So, stay tuned, and let’s dive in 🥽

What is Excel’s formula bar?

The Excel formula bar is a horizontal toolbar immediately next to the Ribbon on the face of your workbook.

Formula bar Excel cell

It is labeled with a (fx) symbol. Click on the formula bar to activate it and start typing 💻

On the left of the formula bar, you can see the cell reference for which the formula bar is active. Whatever you type in the formula bar will apply to that selected cell.

active cell reference

A formula bar helps you see what’s running behind a cell. Perfect for writing long formulas and studying them as they might appear clumsy otherwise.

Can’t see the formula bar? How to show/unhide it!

Does your workbook look like this? There’s no formula bar to it?

Formula bar hidden

Don’t worry – it might only be because you’ve unchecked the option to show the Formula bar.

The formula bar is a very handy tool of MS Excel, and having it there in its place can help a range of causes, such as:

  • It offers a convenient medium to view, review, and edit formulas.
  • Displaying the formula bar allows us to observe what’s running behind a cell (how formulas are constructed)
  • Some users are accustomed to working with the formula bar visible.

Here’s how you can unhide the formula bar in Excel:

Step 1) Go to the View Tab > Show Group.

Step 2) Check the box for the Formula bar ✔

formula bar Checkbox

It will now reappear! 🙂

Pro tip

Feeling lazy to play around with the cursor?

You can do the same above steps with your keyboard only too.

Use this keyboard shortcut in a sequential order: Alt key > W > VF

These shortcut keys will hide and unhide the formula bar

Another way how you can make the formula bar reappear on your worksheet is through the Excel Options.

Step 1) Go to the File Tab > Options.

This will launch the Excel Options dialog box as below.

Step 2) From the pane on the left, select Advanced.

Step 3) Go to Display Options

Step 4) Check the option to “Show Formula Bar”

Show formula bar option Microsoft office

Recheck to find your formula bar restored 👀

How to hide the formula bar in Excel

There are often when you might want the formula bar to disappear from your sheet. There can be a variety of reasons for doing this, for example:

  • To maximize the space available on the screen to view the spreadsheet data (particularly when working with complex worksheets on smaller screens)
  • Maybe because you find the formula bar distracting
  • To reduce visual clutter (some users prefer a cleaner interface)
  • For confidentiality reasons specially when dealing with sensitive information (to prevent others from seeing the formulas running behind the calculations)
  • To avoid accidental edits when working in a collaborative environment

And much more.

To remove the formula bar from appearing on the face of your spreadsheet:

Step 1) Go to the View Tab > Show Group.

Step 2) Uncheck the box for Formula Bar.

Uncheck the box for the formula bar

It can also be hidden from the Excel options as below.

Step 1) Go to the File Tab > Options.

Step 2) From the pane on the left, select Advanced.

Step 3) Go to Display Options

Step 4) Uncheck the option to “Show Formula Bar”

Uncheck hide formula bar


Wrapping things up, though not big, but knowing how to unhide and hide the formula bar from Excel (per your needs) is a handy skill 💪

It will help you align the interface of your spreadsheet based on when you whether some extra space, a cleaner-looking window, or a formula bar where you can quickly review and edit formulas.

I also invite you to explore my other similar Excel tutorials that discuss:

Hope you’ll find them insightful. Keep coming back for more.