How to Enable the Developer Tab in Excel for Mac Users

Enabling the Developer Tab in Excel for Mac is a fairly straightforward process. Simply open Excel, go to the Excel menu, choose Preferences, select the Ribbon & Toolbar, check the box for Developer, and close the window. This will make the Developer tab visible in the ribbon, allowing you to access various developer tools such as Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) and Macros.

Once you enable the Developer tab, you’ll have a range of new functionalities at your fingertips that can significantly enhance your Excel experience. You’ll be able to create, edit, and run Macros, access the Visual Basic Editor, and use form controls.


Excel for Mac is a powerful tool that most of us use quite regularly. Whether you’re a student compiling data for a research project or a business professional analyzing sales trends, Excel is the go-to software for organizing and interpreting data. But did you know that there’s a whole world of functionality tucked away in the Developer tab?

Most casual Excel users never venture into the Developer tab, but for those who are looking to step up their game, enable it! This hidden gem is where you can automate repetitive tasks, create interactive spreadsheets, and even design simple games. It’s particularly useful for those in data analysis, software development, and anyone who loves to streamline their workflow. It’s not just for ‘developers’ per se, but for anyone looking to get more out of Excel. Let’s dive into how you can unlock this treasure trove of tools.

Step by Step Tutorial: Enabling the Developer Tab in Excel for Mac

This section will guide you through the steps required to enable the Developer tab in Excel for Mac.

Step 1: Open Excel

Begin by opening Microsoft Excel on your Mac.

After launching Excel, you’ll typically start at a new blank workbook or the main screen where you can choose a recent file or template.

Step 2: Go to the Excel menu

Click on the Excel menu at the top-left corner of the screen.

This menu is part of the Mac menu bar, not the Excel ribbon, and it contains various Excel settings and preferences.

Step 3: Choose Preferences

From the drop-down menu, select Preferences.

Preferences is where you can alter many settings and customize Excel to your liking.

Step 4: Select the Ribbon & Toolbar

In the Excel Preferences window, click on Ribbon & Toolbar.

This is where you can customize what tabs and commands appear on your Excel ribbon.

Step 5: Check the box for Developer

In the customization options, find and check the box next to Developer.

By checking this box, you’re telling Excel that you want the Developer tab to be part of your ribbon.

Step 6: Close the window

After checking the Developer box, close the Preferences window to save your changes.

When you close the window, Excel will update and the Developer tab will now be visible in your ribbon.


Automation of TasksThe Developer Tab enables the use of Macros in Excel, which can automate repetitive tasks, saving you time and reducing potential errors.
Advanced CustomizationWith the Developer Tab, you can create custom functions, use form controls, and design interactive elements that can make your spreadsheets more user-friendly and customized to your needs.
Access to Powerful ToolsThe Developer Tab grants access to the Visual Basic Editor, allowing you to create and edit macros using VBA, which can significantly expand Excel’s capabilities.


Learning CurveUtilizing the Developer Tab and its tools can be intimidating for beginners, and may require an investment of time to learn.
Potential for ErrorsWorking with VBA and Macros can lead to errors if not done properly, which can affect your data’s integrity.
OvercomplexityFor basic Excel users, the features found in the Developer Tab may be unnecessary and could overcomplicate simple tasks.

Additional Information

Now that you know how to enable the Developer tab in Excel for Mac, it’s important to understand some additional details. First, remember that the Developer tab is a gateway to more advanced features – it’s not the end, but the beginning of a journey into Excel’s deeper functionalities. Don’t be intimidated by terms like ‘macros’ or ‘VBA’; there are plenty of resources available to help you learn these skills at your own pace.

Another key point is that the Developer tab allows you to work with XML commands, which can be useful if you’re working with data that needs to be shared across different platforms. Furthermore, you can also use the Developer tab to create and manage add-ins, which can extend Excel’s capabilities even further. Lastly, remember to save your work frequently when working with the Developer tab’s features – there’s nothing worse than losing your progress due to a forgotten save!


  1. Open Excel on your Mac.
  2. Click on the Excel menu.
  3. Select Preferences.
  4. Click on Ribbon & Toolbar.
  5. Check the box for Developer.
  6. Close the Preferences window.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is VBA?

VBA stands for Visual Basic for Applications, a programming language used within Excel for creating custom functions and automating tasks.

Can enabling the Developer tab harm my computer?

No, enabling the Developer tab in itself will not harm your computer. However, be cautious when downloading or running macros from untrusted sources.

Is the Developer tab available in Excel for Windows?

Yes, the Developer tab is also available in Excel for Windows, though the steps to enable it may differ slightly.

Can I disable the Developer tab if I no longer need it?

Absolutely, you can disable the Developer tab by following the same steps and unchecking the Developer box in Ribbon & Toolbar preferences.

Do I need programming knowledge to use the Developer tab?

While programming knowledge, especially in VBA, can enhance your use of the Developer tab, it is not necessary for basic tasks like recording macros.


Enabling the Developer tab in Excel for Mac opens the door to a richer, more efficient Excel experience. From automating mundane tasks with macros to delving into the world of VBA for custom solutions, the Developer tab is a powerful ally for anyone looking to harness the full potential of Excel.

Remember, while it does come with a learning curve, the time invested in learning these tools can pay off many times over in productivity gains. So go ahead, enable that Developer tab, and start exploring!

Categories Mac

Get Our Free Newsletter

How-to guides and tech deals

You may opt out at any time.
Read our Privacy Policy