Read Longer Formulas and More with the Excel Formula Bar

Why you need an Excel Formula Bar?

A cell contains two things: the formula and the output (on-screen content). But you can only see one thing at a time.

This tool allows you to see beyond the Number, Text, Date or Error that is shown in the current cell.

Just select a cell and move your eye balls up, the cell content is unveiled.

This tool is essential for your work and has evoluted, Excel 2007 enhanced it: it is now resizable.

Here are some tips to take advantage of this great feature…

1) Avoid Moving your Eye Balls Up and Down

Are you debugging and debugging?

It doesn’t make sense to look at the top of your sheet when you can look directly to the cell, you have two options:

  • Press F2 to see content

  • Select View Formulas instead of result

Do this in Option dialog.

See below if you are an Excel 2003 user.

Or this way if you use 2007 version.

2) Avoid Blocked Column Headers

Why?

Blocked Column Headers disorient you and impede to pick ranges for arguments.

The column headers D, E, F and G are missing in the graphic below.

How to resize it?

Unfortunately previous versions don’t allow you to do that.

Expand it with the 2007 version.

It is very simple:

You have three options:

  1. Press CTRL+SHIFT+U
  2. Use the double vertical arrow in the border of the Bar
  3. Press the icon (see below)

Now you can see the entire cell content without blocking the column headers.

3) Read Longer Formulas

Excel 2007 resizable Formula Bar allows you to read longer formulas also.

But…

Don’t abuse with resizing the bar.

Why?

Too long formulas are difficult to write and debug, they make you prone to errors.