How To Add Developer Tab To The Ribbon In Excel

Learn how to add the Developer Tab to the ribbon and how to manage it. The developer tab lets you easily accesses advanced features. In this tutorial we will show you how to enable it! Are you a Developer? Maybe are you developing excel dashboard?

Would you like to launch custom macros or insert interactive form controls? We have hidden but great extension on the Ribbon. Good to know this group is hidden by default but it enables you access useful programming features. Developer tab is necessary to handle custom Excel add-ins too.

Locate the Developer Tab and show it!

The Tab provide various features for beginners and advanced users. But on the other hand, the most important tools can be reached only from here.

How to add the developer tab to the ribbon in 5 sec?

If you are in hurry you can choose the faster way using keyboard shortcuts: Right click on the ribbon, then select the Customize the ribbon option. You will get the Options dialogue box.

Step 1: Right click on the ribbon then select the Customize the ribbon option. You will get the Options dialogue box.

ribbon options and customize ribbon

Quick tip: You can even do it appear faster! Clicking on the R button after right click.

shortcut to show the excel options window

Now you will get the Excel Options window:

show developer tab and customize ribbon

Step 2: Navigate to the Customize the ribbon section. You can find it on right side of window. The list showing the active tabs. Finally, within the Main Tabs pane check the box next to Developer and click OK.

Step 3: From now the Developer Tab available on the ribbon and you can access all the options within it.

show developer tab on the ribbon

Access to developer tools using a classic way

Let us see the second method. Most Excel user follow these steps to add the given tab to the ribbon.

  1. Open Excel and go to the File tab.
  2. In the Excel Options dialogue box, click on Customize Ribbon in the left pane. It will show the Customize the Ribbon options on the right. (This is the same window we have seen int he previous paragraph.)
  3. Activate the Developer Tab under the Main Tabs pane.
  4. Click OK and Excel is ready to create various macros or insert form controls.

What the Excel Developer Tab offers?

The first section of the group is the Code. You can use basic and advanced programming tools to record macros or debug your code. Furthermore, you can write powerful macros and custom automation to speed up your repetitive tasks. Excel allows you to create custom functions (UDF – user defined functions) to append the default functions library using VBA.

code section on the developer tab

The second group of the developer tab is Add-ins. It provides view, add and remove functions for Web based, native and COM add-ins. You can download web-based add-ins from the Office Store.

add-ins section on the ribbon

Next, we have the Controls section. It is easy to add Form Controls and use them to interact with data on worksheet and create dynamic presentations.

controls section on the ribbon

You don’t need programming skills in order to use Form Controls. The most useful and important interactive developer tools are: radio buttons, combo boxes, scroll bars, check boxes, command buttons and labels. Finally, the last group of the Tab support the handling of XML type data. You should use it if you want to get your data from excel to 3rd party external software.

xml section on the developer tab

If you are interesting for the relationship between Excel and XML, visit Microsoft’s site. This is a very seldom used function.

Installation steps on Mac Excel

Start Excel and select Preferences.

show preferences on mac

Choose the Ribbon & Toolbar icon.

ribbon and toolbar icon on mac excel

You will get a pop-up dialog box. Under Customize the Ribbon, select Main Tabs and then check Developer. Click Save and then close Excel Preferences.

select developer tab on mac excel

Finally, following any of the above methods you can activate it in Excel 2016 for Mac.

installed developer tab on mac


The developer tab provides new possibilities not only for Excel developers! In some cases, it’s useful to know how to find them.