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Restoring Full Screen Command in Excel 2013 or Later

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Sep 25th 2015
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Do not fear eyestrain from determining how much information you can fit on the screen, there is a feature in Excel 2010 and earlier called the Full Screen command, which temporarily hides Excel’s menu interface and gives you the ability to easily see several more rows.

Just press Escape to exit full-screen, and you will see what I am talking about. Now, Excel 2013 and later offer a more convoluted approach for hiding the menu interface, but if you know where to look you can restore the Full Screen command that no longer appears on Excel’s View menu.

Let’s first review the Full Screen command in Excel 2010 and earlier. As shown in Figure 1, clicking Full Screen on the View menu hides the entire top portion of the Excel application, so that you have a screen full of worksheet rows. Simply press Escape to exit full screen mode. If you find Full Screen mode helpful, you might wish to have a keyboard shortcut so that you can toggle back and forth between modes. To do so, right-click on the Full Screen command on Excel’s View menu, and then select Add to Quick Access Toolbar.

The Quick Access Toolbar typically appears above the File menu in (or Office button in Excel 2007), although you can move it below Excel’s menu interface known as the Ribbon.

Figure 1

Figure 1: Full Screen mode temporarily displays more worksheet rows by hiding Excel’s menu interface.

Figure 2

Figure 2: Adding Full Screen Mode to the Quick Access Toolbar offers one-click access as well as a keyboard shortcut.

You can access any commands that you place on the Quick Access Toolbar with your mouse, but each command also has a keyboard shortcut as well. When you tap the Alt key in Excel, a number appears beneath each Quick Access Toolbar icon. Thus, if Full Screen is now the fourth icon on your toolbar you’ll tap the Alt key and then press 4 to activate Full Screen mode. You’ll then press Escape to return to Excel’s normal mode. Do note that I’ve chosen my words carefully here, and I did not write press the Alt key, but instead to tap the Alt key.

The reason for this distinction is that if you hold down the Alt key and press the number 4 on your keyboard’s number pad you won’t execute the Full Screen command, but instead will be rewarded with a diamond symbol in your current worksheet cell.  To avoid any confusion, simply tap the Alt key instead of holding it down as you do when using keyboard shortcuts that use the Ctrl key.

Now that we’re oriented with the Full Screen command in Excel 2010 and earlier, let’s look at the methods for creating Full Screen view in Excel 2013 and later. As noted, the Full Screen command no longer appears on Excel’s View menu. This functionality has been replaced by a new Ribbon Display Options button on the title bar, as shown in Figure 3. To use the new method of Full Screen mode in Excel 2013 and later, click the button, and then choose Auto-hide Ribbon. As shown, this command hides Excel’s menu interface, but keeps the formula bar visible. You can’t use the Escape key to exit this mode, as you must click the Ribbon Display Options button again and choose Show Tabs and Commands. You can, however, temporarily display the ribbon by positioning your mouse over the top row of the Excel window.

Figure 3

Figure 3: Full Screen View has been replaced by Auto-hide Ribbon in Excel 2013 and later.

Personally, I find the Auto-hide Ribbon command a bit too unwieldy for my day-to-day use. In Excel 2013 and later you can still place a Full Screen command on your Quick Access Toolbar. To do so, click the arrow at the end of the Quick Access Toolbar, and then choose More Commands. Within the Excel Options dialog box select Commands Not in the Ribbon, and then scroll down to Toggle Full Screen View. Add this command to your Quick Access Toolbar and then click OK. You now have the ability to toggle back and forth between Full Screen mode with a single mouse click or keyboard shortcut, as well as exit Full Screen mode by pressing the Escape key.

Figure 4

Figure 4: Full Screen can be added to the Quick Access Toolbar in Excel 2013 and later.

About the author:
David H. Ringstrom, CPA, heads up Accounting Advisors, Inc., an Atlanta-based software and database consulting firm providing training and consulting services nationwide. Contact David at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter. David speaks at conferences about Microsoft Excel, teaches webcasts for CPE Link, and writes freelance articles on Excel for AccountingWEB, Going Concern, et.al.

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