Excel: What Happened to Tools, Options?

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Problem: Where is the Excel 2003 Options command?

Strategy: Microsoft now provides an Excel Options dialog. You access it with File, Options.

  1. Now 10 categories instead of 13 tabs.

    The new Excel Options dialog has 9 categories instead of the previous 13 tabs. It incorporates most settings that used to be in the Options dialog, plus Tools, AutoCorrect, Tools, Macro, Security, Tools, Add-Ins, and many options from the old Help menu.

    In what seems like a confusing move, Excel took a few options from the old General tab, combined them with some new options, and moved them to the General category in the Excel Options dialog.

    The Advanced category in Excel offers 10 different sections. You will find that many of the former tabs from the Excel 2003 Options dialog have moved to the Advanced category. Instead of flipping from tab to tab to tab in Excel 2003, you can scroll through the long list of Advanced options in Excel.

    The final four categories in the Excel Options dialog do not correspond to the Excel 2003 Options dialog:

    • Customize Ribbon: For adding groups to the ribbon
    • Quick Access Toolbar: For adding icons to the Quick Access toolbar
    • Add-Ins: For managing add-ins (similar to Tools, Add-Ins in 2003)
    • Trust Center: For managing security and much more

    The following table maps the Excel 2003 Options dialog tabs to the Excel 2010 Excel Options dialog categories:

    Excel 2003 Tab

    Excel 2010/2013 Category


    Advanced (Groups 4 - 6)


    Formulas & Advanced (Group 6)


    Advanced (Groups 1 and 2)


    General and Advanced (Group 9)


    Advanced (Group 10)

    Custom Lists

    Advanced (Group 11) or Popular in Excel 2007


    Advanced (Group 4)




    Advanced (Group 1)



    Error Checking





    Removed from the dialog; select File, Save As, click the Tools button, and choose the General category