There is a setting in the Options -> Edit -> Setting section called ‘Edit directly in cell.
The ‘Edit directly in cell’ related to the way Excel shows formulas in the cell and in the toolbar when you are in Edit mode (which is what you get when you click F2).
Edit directly in cell –activated
When Edit directly in cell is activated the formula in the toolbar does not get colour-coded but the formula in the cell does.
Edit directly in cell – not activated
If you choose to uncheck the Edit directly in cell option then you will get the formula in the toolbar colour-coded but the formula in the cell is not.
Which setting is better?
I find it more efficient to work with the ‘Edit directly in cell’ option unchecked.
There are two main advantages:
- If you are editing a formula that is longer than the cell (which is almost always the case) then you can see the whole colour-coded formula in the standard Excel toolbar.
- It is easier for the eye to focus on the same area of the spreadsheet (the toolbar) every time you are editing a formula. When you are copy-pasting sections of a formula or working with the Insert Function dialogs this makes life a lot easier.
This is a functionality that only takes seconds to implement so try both options and find out for yourself which option you prefer.