Excel.Tips.Net ExcelTips (Menu Interface)

Adding an Equal Sign Tool

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Adding an Equal Sign Tool.

Natasha noted that she used to have a equal sign next to the Formula bar that I could click instead of having to enter the equal sign. Clicking the equal sign would also add an equal sign in front of whatever was already in the cell, without deleting the cell contents. When Natasha's office upgraded to Excel 2002, the equal sign disappeared. She wondered how she could get the equal sign back.

The change you noted was done on purpose by Microsoft. They, without any fanfare, dropped the equal sign from the left of the Formula bar with the introduction of Excel 2002. Instead, Microsoft changed the tool to the Insert Function tool, which you can click on to select how you want to put together a formula using functions. This is obviously not the same as the old equal sign tool, however.

You can, if you desire, add an equal sign tool to a toolbar. Follow these steps:

  1. Choose Customize from the Tools menu. Excel displays the Customize dialog box.
  2. Make sure the Commands tab is displayed.
  3. In the Categories list, choose Insert. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Commands tab of the Customize dialog box.

  5. Scroll through the Commands list to find the equal sign tool (oddly enough, it has an equal sign on it).
  6. Use the mouse to drag the equal sign tool to wherever you want it on the toolbar.
  7. Click OK to close the Customize dialog box.

The equal sign tool can be used to enter an equal sign at the beginning of the Formula bar. It doesn't completely function like the old tool, as it won't add an equal sign to the beginning of the existing cell contents, and you can't place the tool right next to the Formula bar.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3146) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Adding an Equal Sign Tool.

Related Tips:

Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!


Leave your own comment:

  Notify me about new comments ONLY FOR THIS TIP
Notify me about new comments ANYWHERE ON THIS SITE
Hide my email address
*What is 5+3 (To prevent automated submissions and spam.)
           Commenting Terms

Comments for this tip:

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

Our Company

Sharon Parq Associates, Inc.

About Tips.Net

Contact Us


Advertise with Us

Our Privacy Policy

Our Sites


Beauty and Style




DriveTips (Google Drive)

ExcelTips (Excel 97–2003)

ExcelTips (Excel 2007–2016)



Home Improvement

Money and Finances


Pests and Bugs

Pets and Animals

WindowsTips (Microsoft Windows)

WordTips (Word 97–2003)

WordTips (Word 2007–2016)

Our Products

Helpful E-books

Newsletter Archives


Excel Products

Word Products

Our Authors

Author Index

Write for Tips.Net

Copyright © 2016 Sharon Parq Associates, Inc.