The Formula Bar

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The formula bar is a useful tool for editing the contents of cells, particularly for creating and editing formulas. At the top of the page when you are working on a Sheet view, the formula bar makes it easy to view and edit long formulas in cells.

What is the Formula Bar?

The formula bar allows you to easily add and edit existing formulas. It is especially useful for seeing and editing complex formulas, like the following (or something even longer).

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From the formula bar, you can click on any part of the formula to make changes. You can even edit cell entries that are not formulas. For instance, long text passages, dates, and more.

Hiding and Unhiding the Formula Bar

If you open a worksheet and there is no formula bar between the toolbar and your column headers (like the following image) then your formula bar may be hidden:

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To hide or unhide your formula bar, navigate to the View menu and check or uncheck the Formula Bar option.

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How to Use the Formula Bar?

To access the formula bar, click on a cell that you wish to add or edit a formula in and then click on the formula bar at the top. From here you can navigate or edit the formula as desired.

For instance, in our hiring budget worksheet below, we are missing formulas to sum quarterly budgets. So we add formulas by clicking on the cell, entering our function and cell references, and pressing enter. We then add a formula to the empty row below. This time, when we press enter, we realize we have made a mistake, and fix it by clicking on and editing the formula in the formula bar. Finally, we drag both formulas across, applying them to the selected cells.

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For more on creating formulas, see our creating and editing formulas article. Or check out all of our formula articles.