Developer Tab in Excel: What, Why, And Where?

  • Home
  • / Developer Tab in Excel: What, Why, And Where?

Microsoft Excel features a wealth of built-in tools and capabilities that casual spreadsheet users may never discover or utilize. One of the most useful hidden tools is the Developer tab, which unlocks advanced options like Macros, code editing, add-ins, and XML mapping.

But since it’s not visible by default, many Excel users don’t even know the Developer tab exists. This guide will explain what the Developer tab is, why it’s useful to enable, and where it is located so that you can start using the Developer tab in Excel.

What is a Developer Tab

The Developer tab is a toolbar in the Excel ribbon that provides access to more advanced tools primarily used for programming and development tasks. For regular data analysis needs, you may never need these tools. But for power users, the Developer tab unlocks functionality you won’t find elsewhere in Excel.

Key tools and features accessible on the Developer tab include:

  • Macros – Record, edit, run, and manage macros for automation.
  • XML – Import and map XML data structures.
  • Form controls – Insert interfaces like checkboxes, comboboxes, and buttons.
  • Code – Edit macro code in the Visual Basic Editor.
  • Add-ins – Manage Excel add-ins to extend functionality.
  • Templates – Create and modify custom Excel templates.

While these more technical capabilities won’t appeal to all users, those looking to optimize, customize, and automate their Excel work can benefit tremendously from the Developer tab.

Why Enable the Developer Tab

The Developer tab is hidden by default in Excel, but it’s easy to enable and provides useful capabilities including:

  • Recording macros – Automate repetitive tasks through macros.
  • Importing data – Pull in XML structured data from other sources.
  • Advanced customization – Tailor Excel’s interface and features to your needs.
  • Building user tools – Create custom apps, tools, and interfaces with form controls.
  • Code access – Modify Excel with code for advanced functionality.

If you find yourself needing any of these capabilities for workflow optimization or custom enhancements, the Developer tab has you covered.

Where is the Developer Tab in Excel

The Developer tab is not displayed by default in Excel, but can be enabled by going to the Options menu (File > Options on Windows or Excel > Preferences on Mac) and checking the box for Developer under the Customize Ribbon sidebar.

This displays the Developer tab in the toolbar ribbon, making its advanced tools for programming, automation, and customization accessible across all workbooks. The location for toggling the Developer tab visibility is in the Customize Ribbon section, which allows you to customize what ribbon tabs are shown. Once enabled here, the Developer tab can be accessed in the toolbar ribbon like any standard Excel tab.

Key Developer Tools

After displaying the Developer tab, its various tools can be found in these locations:

  • Macros – Developer > Code > Macros. Also, the Code button when recording macros.
  • XML – Developer > XML.
  • Controls – Developer > Controls.
  • Code editor – Developer > Code > Visual Basic.
  • Add-ins – Developer > Add-ins.
  • Templates – Developer > Template.

Take time to explore each section fully to understand the capabilities now available to you.

Where to Learn More About Developer Tools

The Developer tab equips you with an abundance of new functionality to explore. To go deeper:

  • Read Microsoft’s documentation on the Developer tab features.
  • Review built-in Macro examples and recordings.
  • Experiment with code via Visual Basic for Applications.
  • Research XML mapping, schemas, and syntax.
  • Try recording macros for frequent repetitive processes.

Learning these more advanced constructs takes time but allows you to tap into Excel’s immense capabilities beyond basic formulas and charts.

Should You Keep the Developer Tab Enabled?

The Developer tab is worth exploring for power users seeking to unlock additional potential from Excel. However, for basic spreadsheet needs, having it perpetually visible may just add clutter. Feel free to hide the tab again after evaluating the available tools.

You can always reenable it again easily in Options if needed later. For those looking to maximize productivity, automation, and customization in Excel, the Developer toolbox will prove invaluable.


In conclusion, locating the Developer Tab in Excel is an essential skill for anyone looking to harness the full power of this versatile spreadsheet program. While it may be hidden by default, it can easily be activated through the Excel Options menu. Once you’ve enabled the Developer Tab, you gain access to a wide array of powerful tools and features that can streamline your workflow, automate tasks, and enhance your Excel experience.

Whether you’re a seasoned Excel user or just starting your journey with spreadsheets, the Developer Tab is a valuable resource that opens up a world of possibilities for customization and automation. So, don’t hesitate to explore this hidden gem within Excel, and take your spreadsheet skills to the next level.

Write your comment Here