Developer Tab

Allows users to create VBA applications, design forms, create macros, import and export XML data, etc.

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What is the Developer Tab?

The Developer tab, which is a built-in tab in Excel, provides the features needed to use Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) and perform a macro operation. The tab is disabled by default. It must be enabled first in the Options section on the File menu to make it visible on the toolbar at the top of the Excel window.

Developer Tab


  • The Developer tab is a feature included in Microsoft Excel, and it is usually hidden by default.
  • The tab allows users to create VBA applications, design forms, create macros, import and export XML data, etc.
  • The Developer tab must be enabled from the Options section in the File menu in order to appear on the toolbar of the Excel window.

Importance of Developer Tab in Excel

Microsoft Excel is one of the most important Microsoft Office applications that are available to finance professionals. It helps in creating reports, analyzing large volumes of data, generating reports, etc. The spreadsheet application makes it easy for financial analysts, investment bankers, and portfolio managers to make decisions with ease.

Finance professionals can evaluate the financial performance of companies, simulate expected outcomes, and even compare investment scenarios. When the Developer tab is activated in Excel, they carry out more advanced functions such as designing forms, writing code, creating macros, as well as importing and exporting XML file formats.

How to Add the Developer Tab to the Excel Ribbon?

The Developer tab is usually hidden by default, and the user needs to activate it from the Options section. Follow the following steps to make the Developer tab visible:

1. Click on the File menu, and scroll to the Options menu. Click Options from the drop-down menu to open the Excel Options window as follows.

Developer Tab - Open Excel Options window

2. Click the Customize Ribbon option in the Excel Options window. Then, on the right side under the list of main tabs, click on the Developer checkbox to tick the box. Click the OK button.

Customize Excel Options

3. The Developer tab will appear on the default tabs at the top of the Excel window. The tab contains a list of all features that you will need for advanced functions. It will remain visible unless you uncheck the Developer option or uninstall the Microsoft Office suite.


Options in the Developer Tab

The following are some of the useful options available in the Excel Developer Tab:

1. Macros

The Macros option is the code group in the Developer tab, and it gives users access to a list of macros that they can work with. Users can record new macros, run macros, and even manage already recorded macros. A macro is a set of instructions that a user can record and get them repeated automatically once a specific action is carried out.

Once you click on the “Record Macro” option under the Developer tab, Excel will automatically start recording the user’s actions in the program. Clicking the “Record Macro” again will stop recording the macro, and save it for later use.

Under the Macro options, users can also open the Visual Basic for Application (VBA) Editor to create, edit, and record macros that can perform frequent or repetitive tasks in MS Office applications. While users can still create macros in the traditional manner, writing a macro from the VBA Editor provides more flexibility, and users can complete more complicated tasks using VBA. The Windows shortcut for launching the VBA Editor is Alt+F11.

2. Add-ins

Add-ins are additional programs that users can install to get additional features, functionalities, and commands in Excel. When a user installs Excel for the first time, add-ins are not immediately available, and users need to install and activate them first.

Some of the Excel add-ins are built within the application, such as Analysis Toolpak and Solver, while others are developed by solution providers to perform specific functions. Users can also create an add-in by writing or recording the code in a module, saving it as an Excel add-in, and then putting the add-in to the Quick Access toolbar.

3. Interactive controls

There are two types of controls in Excel worksheets that are used on worksheet forms. They include Form Controls and ActiveX Controls. Form Controls are simple to use. On the other hand, ActiveX is more advanced, and it provides a flexible design that users can use in VBA.

Users can insert the controls in a worksheet, edit the VBA code for control, and switch the design mode to on or off. Users can also use the controls to insert interactive tools such as radio buttons, checkboxes, and combo boxes.

4. XML commands

The Developer tab also includes the XML Source task panel that allows users to import and export XML data that is created from other applications or databases. The section also helps manage expansion packs that may be included in an active worksheet. Users can also exchange XML data between different applications.

Additional Resources

In order to help you become a world-class financial analyst and advance your career to your fullest potential, these additional resources will be very helpful:

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