The Status Bar in Excel and How to Use It

The status bar, which runs horizontally along the bottom of the Excel screen, can be customized to display a number of options, most of which give the user information about:

  • The current worksheet (such as page view)
  • Data the worksheet contains
  • The on/off status of certain keys on the user's keyboard, such as Caps Lock, Scroll Lock, and Num Lock

Changing the Status Bar Options

The status bar has been pre-set with a number of default options such as the page number of the selected worksheet page and the number of pages in the worksheet when you are working in Page Layout view or Print Preview view.

These options can be changed by right-clicking on the status bar with the mouse pointer to open the status bar context menu. The menu contains the list of available options. Those with a check mark beside them are currently active.

Clicking on an option in the menu toggles it on or off.

Default Options

As mentioned, a number of options are pre-selected for display by default on the status bar.

These options include:

  • Carrying out mathematical and statistical calculations
  • Changing the magnification of the worksheet
  • Changing the worksheet view
  • Cell mode

Calculation Options

The default calculation options include finding the average, count, and sum for selected cells of data in the current worksheet. These options are linked to the Excel functions by the same name.

As shown in the image above, if two or more cells containing number data are selected in a worksheet the status bar displays:

  • the average value of the data in the cells selected;
  • the number of cells selected (count);
  • the total value of the data in the cells selected (sum).

Although not active by default, options for finding the Maximum and Minimum values in a selected range of cells are also available using the status bar.

Zoom and Zoom Slider

One of the most frequently used options of the status bar is the zoom slider in the bottom right corner, which allows users to alter the magnification level of a worksheet.

Next to it, but, puzzlingly, a separate option, is Zoom, which shows the current level of magnification - that, presumably, has been set by the zoom slider.

If, for some reason, you chose to display the zoom option but not the zoom slider, you can still change the magnification level by clicking on zoom to open the zoom dialog box, which contains options for changing magnification.

Worksheet View

Also active by default is the view shortcuts option. Located next to the zoom slider, this group displays the current worksheet view and is linked to the three default views available in Excel - normal view, page layout view, and page break preview. The views are presented as buttons that can be clicked on to toggle between the three views.

Cell Mode

Another well-used option and one also activated by default is Cell Mode, which displays the current status of the active cell in the worksheet.

Located on the left side of the status bar, the cell mode is displayed as a single word denoting the current mode of the selected cell. These modes are:

  • Ready - indicates that the worksheet is ready to accept user input, such as data input, formulas, and formatting.
  • Edit - indicates, as the name suggests, that Excel is in editing mode. Edit is displayed by double-clicking on a cell with the mouse pointer or by pressing the F2 key on the keyboard. Edit mode allows changes to be made without over writing a cell's existing contents.
  • Enter - occurs when data is being entered into a worksheet cell. This state is activated automatically by typing data into a cell or by pressing the F2 key on the keyboard twice in succession.
  • Point - occurs when a formula is being entered and indicates that a cell reference has been entered into the formula using mouse pointing or the arrow keys on the keyboard.