How to Get Developer Tab in Excel

admin31 March 2023Last Update :

Unlocking the Power of Excel: The Developer Tab

Microsoft Excel is a powerhouse when it comes to data analysis and spreadsheet management. However, to truly harness its full potential, one must delve into the more advanced features that lie beneath the surface. One such feature is the Developer tab, a treasure trove of tools that can elevate your Excel experience. This article will guide you through the process of getting the Developer tab in Excel, exploring its features, and demonstrating how it can be a game-changer in your data management tasks.

Why You Need the Developer Tab in Excel

Before we dive into the steps of accessing the Developer tab, let’s understand why it’s a valuable asset. The Developer tab in Excel is not displayed by default, but it’s a gateway to advanced functionalities such as:

  • Creating and managing macros
  • Designing forms and controls
  • Working with XML commands
  • Using ActiveX controls
  • Accessing the Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) editor

These features allow for automation, customization, and much more sophisticated data manipulation than what’s possible with the standard Excel interface.

Step-by-Step Guide to Enable the Developer Tab

Enabling the Developer tab is a simple process that can be done in just a few clicks. Here’s how you can make it appear in your Excel ribbon:

For Excel 2016, 2019, and Microsoft 365

  1. Open Excel and create a new workbook or open an existing one.
  2. Right-click anywhere on the ribbon and select ‘Customize the Ribbon…’ from the context menu.
  3. In the Excel Options dialog box, you will see a list of tabs on the right side. Check the box next to ‘Developer’.
  4. Click ‘OK’ to save your changes and close the dialog box.

The Developer tab should now be visible in the ribbon, ready for you to explore its functionalities.

For Excel 2010 and Excel 2013

  1. Click on the ‘File’ tab to go to the Excel Backstage view.
  2. Select ‘Options’ to open the Excel Options dialog box.
  3. In the dialog box, select ‘Customize Ribbon’ on the left-hand side.
  4. On the right, you’ll find the list of tabs. Check the ‘Developer’ checkbox.
  5. Press ‘OK’ to confirm and add the Developer tab to your ribbon.

With these steps, users of Excel 2010 and 2013 can also enjoy the advanced features that the Developer tab has to offer.

For Excel 2007

  1. Click the Microsoft Office Button, and then click ‘Excel Options’.
  2. In the ‘Popular’ category, under ‘Top options for working with Excel’, check the ‘Show Developer tab in the Ribbon’ checkbox.
  3. Click ‘OK’ to apply the changes.

Although Excel 2007 is an older version, it still provides the option to enable the Developer tab for users who prefer this version.

Exploring the Features of the Developer Tab

Once you have the Developer tab enabled, a world of possibilities opens up. Let’s explore some of the key features that you can take advantage of:


Macros are sequences of instructions that automate repetitive tasks. With the Developer tab, you can record, write, and run macros. You can also manage macro security settings to protect your system from potentially harmful macros.


The Developer tab allows you to insert various form controls like buttons, check boxes, and combo boxes into your worksheets. These controls can be linked to cells and used to create interactive forms.


For those who work with XML data, the Developer tab provides tools to import and export XML data, map XML schemas to Excel cells, and work with XML expansion packs.

Visual Basic for Applications (VBA)

VBA is the programming language for Excel macros. The Developer tab gives you direct access to the VBA editor, where you can write and debug your VBA code.

ActiveX Controls

ActiveX controls are more sophisticated than form controls and allow for a greater level of customization. They are ideal for creating advanced user interface elements within Excel sheets.

Practical Examples of Using the Developer Tab

To illustrate the power of the Developer tab, let’s look at some practical examples of how it can be used:

Creating a Macro to Automate Data Entry

Imagine you have a task that requires entering the same data into multiple cells across different worksheets. Instead of doing this manually, you can record a macro that captures your actions and then run the macro to repeat the task automatically.

Designing an Interactive Dashboard

With form controls like sliders and buttons, you can create an interactive dashboard that allows users to filter and visualize data dynamically. This can be particularly useful for reports and presentations.

Developing Custom Forms for Data Collection

Using ActiveX controls, you can design custom forms within Excel for data collection. These forms can include text boxes, option buttons, and list boxes to capture a wide range of data types.

FAQ Section

Can I add the Developer tab to Excel on Mac?

Yes, you can add the Developer tab to Excel on Mac by going to Excel > Preferences > Ribbon & Toolbar and then checking the Developer checkbox.

Is it safe to enable macros from the Developer tab?

Macros can be powerful but also pose a security risk if they come from an untrusted source. Always ensure that you enable macros from a trusted source and maintain appropriate macro security settings.

Do I need to know how to program to use the Developer tab?

While programming knowledge, particularly in VBA, can help you make the most of the Developer tab, many of its features, like form controls, do not require programming skills.


The Developer tab in Excel is a gateway to advanced features that can significantly enhance your productivity and data analysis capabilities. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can easily enable the Developer tab and start exploring its rich set of tools. Whether you’re looking to automate tasks with macros, create interactive forms, or delve into VBA programming, the Developer tab is your starting point for taking your Excel skills to the next level.

Remember to use these tools responsibly, especially when it comes to macro security, and always keep learning to discover even more ways to leverage Excel’s capabilities. Happy developing!


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