Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Creating a Drawing Object.

Creating a Drawing Object

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 18, 2021)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Excel allows you to create drawing objects you can use in your worksheets. These objects (such as an oval, rectangle, line, or AutoShape) are positioned on what is termed the "drawing layer," which is separate and distinct from the values or formulas in the cells of your worksheet. You generally create such objects by using the tools on the Drawing toolbar. (Display the Drawing toolbar by clicking on the Drawing tool on the Standard toolbar.)

On the left side of the Drawing toolbar are several tools that are used to create basic shapes. The line, arrow, rectangle, and oval tools are easily identifiable. In addition, you can use the AutoShapes tool to display a menu of more than 125 different symbols, banners, and callouts. Follow these steps to place a drawing object in your worksheet:

  1. Make sure the Drawing toolbar is displayed.
  2. Click on the tool that represents the type of object you want to create. If you are creating an AutoShape, click on the AutoShape tool, then choose the shape from the appropriate submenu. Once a tool is selected, the mouse pointer changes to crosshairs, or a plus sign.
  3. Click within your worksheet at one corner of where you want the shape to appear.
  4. Drag the mouse to the opposite corner for the object.
  5. When you release the mouse button, the object appears in the worksheet and you can manipulate it as desired.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2197) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Creating a Drawing Object.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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