How to use Excel : Excel Basics – Explore Formula Bar in Excel


We briefly mentioned the formula bar in one of our previous tutorials. Formula bar is a very important section of any Excel workbook but if you are dealing with a complicated spreadsheet containing excel formulaes then the significance of formula bar increase manifolds. In this tutorial we'll explore the formula bar,we'll know about its different parts and their functioning.

Explore Formula bar in Excel

The formula bar is that section of the Excel worksheet that displays the address and the contents of the excel worksheet cells.

Explore Excel Formula Bar

We have already studied how are excel cells named in the previous tutorial. Using that same nomenclature the address of the active cell is shown in the formula bar and the contents of that cell are also shown.

There are three parts of the formula bar –

Name box :

The left most section of the formula bar. It displays the address of the active cell (or the current cell whatever you may want to call it) .

Explore Excel Formula Bar
Buttons :

Formula bar buttons – This is the middle portion of the formula bar and displays the three buttons –

  • Cancel ( X )
  • Enter button ( the checkmark button ) and the
  • Insert function button ( The fx button )
Explore Excel Formula Bar
Note # The cancel and the enter buttons appear only when we start making an entry into a cell. As the name suggests the insert function button can be used to insert functions into the cell.


Content Area

Cell contents area – This portion of the formula bar is very important as it will show the formula applied to a cell whereas the worksheet cell shows only the final calculated value and not how that value is achieved.

Explore Excel Formula Bar
Note # The content area of the formula bar can be expanded to incorporate very long cell entries which are impossible to see directly in the cell. If you want to expand the content area just place the cursor on its bottom edge. The cursor will change into a double arrowed cursor. Now hold the edge with your mouse and drag it downwards.


It is very important to be able to use the formula bar properly, as it can increase the efficiency of using excel and ease out a lot of procedures to a great extent. In future tutorials we'll delve into creating formulae and and using them to create complicated and useful spreadsheets. We'll then get to better understand the importance of excel formula bar.