The developer tab in PowerPoint may not always be displayed by default, but it’s an especially useful resource for designers that regularly use the program and have developed their own macros, commands, and controls.

If you’re designing on PC, the easiest way to display the developer tab is to follow these steps:

  1. Click the File tab in PowerPoint’s top ribbon, then click Options > Customise Ribbon
  2. Under Customise Ribbon column, ensure it says Main Tabs, then click Developer check box > OK

developer tab, Missing Developer Tab in PowerPoint Now the Developer tab should be accessible from your top ribbon. You can also repeat the process to deselect (and hide) any tabs you don’t need from your ribbon.

developer tab, Missing Developer Tab in PowerPoint However, if you’re operating PowerPoint on a Mac, then the steps may be a little different, particularly as the options from the developer tab are available under other resources. Let’s look at the main three for PowerPoint 2016 on Mac.

  1. To find Editor, click Tools in the top ribbon, followed by Macro > Visual Basic Editor
  2. To find Macros, click Tools again, followed by Marco > Macros…
  3. To find Add-Ins, click Tools > Add-Ins

If you’re designed in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac, then the steps are a little different and easier.

  1. After launching PowerPoint, click PowerPoint in the top bar, followed by Preferences (shortcut ⌘ + , on the keyboard), which should open the PowerPoint Preferences dialogue box
  2. Click Ribbon in the top bar of the dialogue box. Under the Customise section, click the Developer check box > OK

The Developer tab should now be visible in your top ribbon. Within that customise section, note that you can select which tabs to show or hide, and you can drag the different tab names to create an order you prefer.

Using the Developer tab allows designers to: write macros; run macros you’ve previously recorded; use XML commands; use ActiveX controls; create applications to use with Microsoft Office programs; use form controls in Microsoft Excel; work with the ShapeSheet in Microsoft Visio; and create new shapes and stencils in Microsoft Visio.

If you’re looking to customise PowerPoint further and streamline the way you design, be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to PowerPoint Custom Tools here.