Excel’s Developer tab opens up a world of possibilities for advanced spreadsheet use. But you may have never heard of it. Why? Because it doesn’t display automatically in Excel. Let’s learn how to use Developer in Microsoft Excel.
How to Install the Developer Tab in Excel
When it’s installed, the Developer tab sits on Excel’s ribbon alongside the Data, Review, and View tabs. But when you install Excel, you won’t see it there. That’s because it’s an optional feature that doesn’t show up without adjusting a few settings.
To install the Developer tab, click on the Excel dropdown in the upper left corner of your screen. Then, choose Preferences.
The Excel Preferences menu will launch, with a variety of options available to you. The option you want is in the Authoring section. There, click on Ribbon & Toolbar.
On the menu that launches, scroll down the list on the right side beneath Customize the Ribbon. The last option listed is Developer, and by default, it’s not checked. Click on the checkbox to select it, then choose Save.
Right on cue, you’ll see the word Developer appear on the ribbon, just to the right of the View tab. Click to open it up, and now we’ll explore some of the many features that exist within it.
How to Use the Developer Tab in Excel
The Developer tab is packed with a wide array of custom features. Some are made for advanced users, but you’ll find several options that help jump-start any project.
Let’s explore a few of the key features on the Developer tab:
- Visual Basic. This is meant for complex Excel work. Visual Basic for Applications, or VBA, is the backbone of Excel. It’s the programming language used in Excel and across the Microsoft Office suite of apps. Clicking this option launches a VBA editor where you can execute advanced changes.
- Macros. Macros, put simply, are task automation tools that live in Excel. They’re accessed through the Developer tab. Macros are most commonly utilized in cases where you perform the same task or tasks over and over in the same sequence. Macros are recorded, and then applied to new sets of data as you work with them in Excel.
- Add-ins. Add-ins are essentially hidden features of Excel that you can download and install. Two of the most common add-ins are the Analysis ToolPak and Solver for linear programming applications. These commands on the Developer tab let you browse to and install add-ins to customize your Excel installation.
On the right side, you’ll see a simpler series of features that are useful for many types of Excel work. These include:
- Button. Buttons let you add a customized “switch” to any spreadsheet that launches a macro.
- Group Box. These let you group multiple interactive radio buttons into a single, movable object.
- Label. This functions as a text box that lets you add additional text to your sheet. Labels are often used for instructions on forms. The text sits above your worksheet cells, not within them.
- Check Box. This option inserts an interactive, clickable checklist on your spreadsheet.
- Option Button. Click here to insert interactive option buttons where you place your cursor.
- Spinner. Spinners add up-or-down arrows to your sheets.
As you can see, the Developer tab in Excel offers a wide variety of versatile options. It’s easy to install, and you can use it in just a few seconds. It’s filled with time-saving features like macros, along with quick ways to insert interactive elements onto your sheets. Raise your spreadsheet game to the next level and try Developer in Excel today.