Missing Formula Bar in Excel (for Mac)

My Formula bar was missing in Excel (Mac). Click on View > Formula Bar and the option was ticked. Tried on untick – but stayed ticked.

Closed all other tool bars, no help.

Found solution: hold down CONTROL and SHIFT keys and start Excel. Resets the tool bars and the Formula bar magically reappeared.

51 thoughts on “Missing Formula Bar in Excel (for Mac)

  1. David,
    Thank you for the help. I see this action restore the formula bar as a ‘floating’ bar. One question still: How do I get the formula bar to become permanent into the spreadsheet.
    This does not seem to be possible. Thanks again 🙂

  2. Hi Toni
    I’m not quite sure what you mean. Do you mean docking the bar to the top or side of your screen? In which case just drag it to the place and it will automatically attach itself.
    The mystery for me is why it randomly disappears!

  3. I have just found that my formula bar is under the Mac menu bar – only a little is showing and I can’t get hold of it to move it
    Is there a ctrl + sequence I could use to make it move?
    I ried the Ctrl+Shift on starting Excel but that didn’t make any difference
    Don’t know how I managed to get it up there!
    Thanks for your help

  4. Hello Eleanor / David. I have same problem with formul bar hidden under menu bar. Have tried everything I have found online but can’t seem to fix it. Including changing screen resolution and ctrl shift reset. Help. Andy

  5. I had the same problem as Elanor/David/etc and could also see that the formula bar was hidden behind the menu bar… But there seemed to be no way of moving it. So I searched on AltaVista (Yahoo!) and this page of David’s was the top hit on my search… I tried David’s suggestion, and “it just worked”! Boom!! 🙂 Thanks David!! Greg

  6. Thanks for the suggestion. I ran into this problem several days ago and am still seeking a solution. I have lost (missing-not hidden) my formula bar in Excel on my 13 inch MacBook Pro and am having trouble restoring it. After failure with many attempts to restore the missing Formula Bar, I shut down Excel and held down CONTROL and SHIFT keys and started Excel. It did “magically” restore the Formula bar however it is not a permanent condition. When I “force quit” Excel or shut down and/or restart my computer, the Formula Bar does not reappear when I open an Excel file. I can go through the same procedure and I can reestablish it each time, and it will remain with Excel until I shut down again. Is there a way to make the fix permanent without trashing files. As a footnote, under Preferences/View in Excel, the “Show Formula Bar” is checked along with the “Show Status Bar”, the latter of which is not a problem.

  7. I have tried all solutions in this conversation and none worked. I can get a ‘floating’ formula through the View menu but I would like to have a permanent formula bar on the menu.

  8. LuAnn, sounds like you need to drag your toolbar panel up to the Toolbar at the top. It should ‘dock’, eg attach itself and become a part of the Tool Bar.
    You can do this with pretty much all tool bar panels in Microsoft products.

  9. My formula bar also ‘hides’ under my Tool Bar and I too can get it to reappear by restarting Excel and holding the Control and Shift keys. And like David above, the problem re-occurs whenever I restart the app. I’m using Excel 2008 with a MacBook Pro using 10.7.3

  10. HI I just found another fix after going crazy and not always wanting to re-open and close..
    View Full Screen. When I come out of full screen it is hidden then view full screen, voila there again.

  11. Thanks a bunch! It even worked for me on my Windows 7 laptop. You ended a frustrating couple of hours wondering what happened to the formula bar. It does apparently mean you have to always start Excel in “Safe mode”, but I don’t restart that often. I wish they would just tell you up front about this kind of thing…

  12. I’m with LuAnn. I’m using Excel 2008 for Mac on my Mac Mini and my cell contents/formula bar is not attached to the Excel window. I can move it on top of the toolbars but it never attaches itself or reinserts itself where it should be. I cannot find any setting that will make the cell contents/formula bar appear as a toolbar like the other toolbars. I tried David’s recommendation to exit Excel and then open it while holding down the shift and control keys, but this did not fix the problem. Does anyone have a solution?

      • Actually this *is* for Mac Excel. Except this is for an older version. I now use Mac Office 2011 and haven’t had the problem so have not needed to find a solution for the newer Excel.

      • To David Eadie
        Very expensive for this day and age.
        Typical Microsoft “Shovelware”, get out a quick and dirty, load all the debugging responsibility onto the trusting souls who bought it. No attempt to support the buyer who paid good money for nothing, let the “Bloggers” do the work for free.
        Not me, I am switching to Mac iWorks, it works, and at a fraction of the price.
        That is why I junked the Microsoft based computer in favour of a Mac, after having used a PC since 1982.

        Review on Cnet
        Seems more stable in some ways. I would replace all the new bells and whistles for a stable program that works as it is supposed to.
        It erases text and replaces it with asterisks in Microsoft Word (pretty much the worst possible sort of bug). The autosave saves asterisks as well, so the data is definitively lost. I lost 3 days of work!
        I could not reinstall Office 2008 after installing 2011 (the toolbar wouldn’t work) so ended up reinstalling the operating system. Disaster all around. Microsft needs to get its act together.

    • Jane: If you have a Mac (I don’t know about PC), you can see the formula bar in “View…Full Screen”, but then you cannot see the Excel Menu!!
      Go figure out the genius programmer who did this, must have an I.Q. of a hibernating Newt.

  13. Pingback: I need to write more blog posts about SQL server and missing toolbars in Excel | David Eedle

  14. The problem occurred for me when I opted for full screen view. The formula bar only appears from under the Apple Menu bar in full screen view. None of the measures mentioned above enables me to permanently view the formula bar when not in full screen view. Any suggestions welcome before I junk Excel for Mac Numbers

  15. I used to be able to put the formula bar fields into my general toolbar using customise toolbars.

    Since an update, I can no longer do this.

    Other replies say this was never an option.
    It was an option – any work arounds??

    I HATE the floating formula bar.

  16. I hate it too. It used to just attach, and now it won’t.
    Actually, my first few weeks at this job with this computer and this Office for Mac, it was attached and fine. Then I closed it once by accident, and had to open the formula bar again, but it has been floating ever since.

    • You can see the bar attached if you
      “View” .. “Full Screen”
      “View” .. “Formula Bar”
      But then you will not be able to see any other file until you get of of full screen mode
      Annoying, totally unnecessary meddlesome interference of what was a relatively good program.
      But I liked Lotus 1-2-3 better, even in it’s early versions.

  17. Thank you! That worked; I’ve been professionally using excel for years, normally not facing a problem unsolvable. This one was tricky. Thank you for sharing this info.

  18. Thanks for that piece of advice David. Yours was the first of the hits returned in an internet search I tried and it worked perfectly.

    • Nice

      I programmed my first computer at the Uni of Toronto in 1974. A mainframe. We had to book a place 2 weeks in advance, wear gloves, cap and mask. The process involved making punch cards in Fortran language, which were fed into the computer that was set up using wires and jacks like an old telephone exchange. The computer filed a small room. Despite that, it was easier to use than a modern PC!!

  19. This is amazing. Somehow my default setting was to not have the formula bar. I have been adding the formula bar every single time I was using excel. I couldn’t find any information on how to KEEP it there. This seems to have worked.

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