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: Sending Drawing Objects to the Back or Front.

Sending Drawing Objects to the Back or Front

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated August 7, 2021)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


When you create objects in Excel using the Drawing toolbar, each object is drawn on its own layer. This means all objects are independent and can be moved on top of other objects. However, there may be times when you actually want an object to be under another object. You can do this by following these steps:

  1. Select the pointer tool (the arrow) from the Drawing toolbar.
  2. Using the mouse, point to the shape you want to send to the back, and click on it. Small square boxes called handles appear around the perimeter of the shape.
  3. Choose Order from the Draw menu on the toolbar. Excel displays a set of ordering commands.
  4. Choose the Send to Back option.

You can do the same sort of arrangement by choosing Bring to Front instead of Send to Back. Excel will move an item which may be behind others so that it overlays the others.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2199) 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: Sending Drawing Objects to the Back or Front.

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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