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: Enlarging the Formula Bar.

Enlarging the Formula Bar

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated August 6, 2021)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


When you select a cell in a worksheet, the contents of that cell are shown in the Formula bar. If the contents are longer than what can be displayed in a single line on the Formula bar, the depth of the Formula bar increases so that the entire formula can be displayed. When you move to another cell, the Formula bar again decreases in depth to a single line.

The problem with an automatically adjusting Formula bar is that it can obscure other elements on the screen. If the Formula bar takes up two or three lines of depth, it overlays the column headers and other cells in the worksheet. This can be distracting, at times.

Unfortunately, there is no way to instruct Excel to a) limit the Formula bar to a set depth or b) decrease the size of the type in the Formula bar so more can fit within a single line. The best you can do is to simply remove the Formula bar completely, so it is not visible. (If you have no Formula bar displayed, then it cannot expand and obscure information in the worksheet.) You can turn off the Formula bar in this manner:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Excel displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the View tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The View tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. Clear the Formula Bar check box.
  5. Click on OK.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2730) 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: Enlarging the Formula Bar.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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