How to add developer Tab to MS Word

Aside from the creation and management of documents, MS Word offers advanced developer features. 

These features allow you to create simple applications, create and run macros, and also design your own user controls. You can access these features through the Developer tab. However, this tab is not displayed on the ribbon by default. 

This article will guide you on the different methods on how to add the Developer tab so that you can utilize the features it provides.

Now, there are two methods you can use to add the Developer tab in MS Word.

2 Ways to Add the Developer Tab to MS Word

  • Using the Options command
  • Using the Right-click context menu

Both methods will display the Word Options dialog box, which contains the settings you will need to show the Developer tab. Follow along with this article so that you will learn the steps needed to display the tab and help you get started with using the advanced features.

Let’s get started!

Why Should You Add the Developer Tab to MS Word?

The controls available on the Developer tab can help you customize MS Word, allowing you to add more functionalities. With these functionalities, you will be able to increase your productivity by automating tasks that you usually use. 

A functionality that best describes this scenario is the use of macros. With a macro, you can create a command to automatically perform a series of instructions. Another situation is when you want to design your own template for a user form. You can add controls such as textbox, drop-down list, checkbox, and other commonly used user interface controls. 

To guide you when to add the Developer tab, here are some good rules of thumb:

  • You need to create and run macros that will automate some of your tedious works.
  • You need to design a document that includes user interface controls. 
  • You need to set the formatting and editing restrictions of a document.

You can achieve all these situations through the Developer tab. The first step that you need to do is to ensure that it’s added on the ribbon. As stated earlier, there are two methods that you can use.

Let’s dive right in!

Method 1: Using the Options Command

The Options command, which you can find on the start screen, offers a variety of options that you can use to customize your MS Word interface. One of them is the Customize Ribbon option. This contains the section responsible for adding the Developer tab. 

To use this method, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Open the MS Word application.

Of course, you need to open MS Word to customize it. Start by pressing the Window key on your keyboard. Type the keyword “Word” to let your system find MS Word. Filter the search results until you see the MS Word application. Open the program. Doing this will redirect you to its Start screen.

You don’t need to have anything on your document to add the Developer Tab to MS Word, so feel free to use a blank document. Otherwise, the document you’re currently working on would be just as suitable.

Step 2: Display the Word Options dialog box.

From the MS Word Start screen, you can immediately display the Word Options dialog box by clicking the Options command. You can find this on the left panel. Suppose you already opened a document, you can display the start screen by clicking the File tab on the ribbon.

Step 3: Access the Customize Ribbon section.

With the Word Options dialog box already open, you need to click the Customize Ribbon option to display the section that you need to configure. Upon clicking, the dialog box will show you two groups of controls—Choose commands from and Customize the Ribbon. Since you need to modify the ribbon, you will only focus on the latter.

Step 4: Add the Developer tab on the list.

From the Customize the Ribbon drop-down list, make sure that either the All Tabs or Main Tabs option is selected. Below the drop-down list is a collection of all tabs available in MS Word. In this collection, you may toggle a checkbox beside a tab name to add or remove it from the ribbon. Locate the Developer checkbox and tick it.

Step 5: Apply your setting.

Finalize your setting by clicking the OK button of the dialog box. Notice that the Developer tab appears on the ribbon. You can now use the advanced features that are in this tab.

Method 2: Using the Right-click Context Menu

Another method that you can use to add the Developer tab is through the Right-click context menu. Performing this method will directly open the Customize Ribbon option from the Word Options dialog box.

You can perform this method by following the steps below. 

Step 1: Open a new or existing document.

In this method, you need to access the ribbon because you will display the context menu in here later on. To do this, ensure that you already have an open document. Open MS Word program and either create a new document or open an existing file.

Step 2: Display the Right-click context menu on the ribbon.

With MS Word already open, you will need to focus on the ribbon. It does not matter which of the tabs is active, as long as you have enough space to do a right-click operation. Move your mouse cursor over an empty area on the ribbon and perform a right-click.

This will open the Right-click context menu. The context menu will display a list of options to choose from. From the list, click Customize the Ribbon. This will display the Word Options dialog box.

Step 3: Include the Developer tab to the ribbon.

Choosing the Customize the Ribbon option from the context menu will directly display the section that you need to configure. In here, make sure that the Main Tabs or All Tabs is selected from the Customize the Ribbon drop-down list.

From the list of tabs below it, find the Developer option with its checkbox. Click the checkbox to include the Developer in the list of tabs that will be added.

Step 4: Finalize your setting.

Review your setting and apply your changes. To do so, click the OK button of the dialog box. The Developer tab will immediately appear on the ribbon. Now, you are ready to explore and use the advanced features it offers.


The Developer tab offers many features that allow you to customize and maximize your usage of MS Word. You will not be able to enjoy its benefits if you don’t know how to access its controls.

To get you started, use the steps discussed in this article to add the Developer tab in your ribbon.

From there, you can explore how you can use the features to automate your tasks and increase your productivity.

We hope you found this article helpful!

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