As its name implies, the “Developer” tab in Office programs allows you to create applications to use with Office programs, write macros, run macros you previously recorded, use XML commands and ActiveX controls, use form controls, and is not available by default.

Even if you are not a developer, you may want to work with document templates in Word, add some form controls to your document in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, customize the Office programs using macros, or use a custom form in Outlook. All of these tasks require the “Developer” tab and we’ll show you how to activate it.

NOTE: We used Word 2013 to illustrate this feature, but the “Developer” tab is available in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Publisher and is activated in the same way.

To begin, right-click on an empty spot on the ribbon and select “Customize the Ribbon” from the popup menu.

The “Customize the Ribbon and keyboard shortcuts” screen on the “Word Options” dialog box displays.

NOTE: You can also access this screen by clicking the “File” tab in your document, selecting “Options” on the backstage screen, and then clicking “Customize Ribbon” in the list of items on the left side of the “Word Options” dialog box.

In the list under the “Customize the Ribbon” drop-down list, select the “Developer” check box so there is a check mark in the box.

Click “OK” to accept the change and close the “Word Options” dialog box.

The “Developer” tab now displays on the ribbon, as shown in the image at the beginning of this article.

Profile Photo for Lori Kaufman Lori Kaufman
Lori Kaufman is a technology expert with 25 years of experience. She's been a senior technical writer, worked as a programmer, and has even run her own multi-location business.
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