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: Pictures inside Shapes.

Pictures in AutoShapes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 10, 2017)

Excel allows you to format the appearance of the AutoShapes you place in a worksheet. If you display the Format AutoShape dialog box, you can change all sorts of colors, lines, fills, fonts, and other attributes of the AutoShape. One really nifty formatting feature is to place a picture within an AutoShape. Follow these steps:

  1. Create your AutoShape as you normally would.
  2. Right-click the AutoShape. Excel displays a Context menu for the AutoShape.
  3. Choose Format AutoShape from the Context menu. Excel displays the Format AutoShape dialog box. (If Format AutoShape was not one of the options from the Context menu, then you didn't right-click the AutoShape itself in step 2. Make sure that you right-click one of the lines that make up the AutoShape.)
  4. Display the Colors and Lines tab. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Colors and Lines tab of the Format AutoShape dialog box.

  6. Click the drop-down arrow for the Color drop-down list.
  7. On the drop-down list, choose Fill Effects. Excel displays the Fill Effects dialog box.
  8. Make sure the Picture tab is displayed. (See Figure 2.)
  9. Figure 2. The Picture tab of the Fill Effects dialog box.

  10. Use the controls in the dialog box to select a picture you want in the AutoShape.
  11. Click OK as many times as necessary to close all the dialog boxes.

The picture you selected in step 8 should now appear in the background of the AutoShape. In most cases the AutoShape looks like a "mask" over the picture, which is a nice effect. You should also use this technique sparingly, as each picture you place in an AutoShape can greatly increase the size of your workbook.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2391) 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: Pictures inside Shapes.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Shading a Cell Until Something is Entered

Conditional formatting provides the opportunity to get very creative with your formatting. One such creative urge can be ...

Discover More

Specifying a Delimiter when Saving a CSV File in a Macro

You can, within a macro, save a workbook in several different file formats that are understood by Excel. However, you may ...

Discover More

Getting Rid of Hidden Text in Many Files

Hidden text is a great boon if you want to make sure something doesn't show up on the screen or on a printout. If you ...

Discover More

Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Changing How Arrows Look

If you use Excel's graphic capabilities to insert a line or an arrow into a worksheet, you can change how that arrow ...

Discover More

Modifying Axis Scale Labels

You want your chart to display information as clearly and succinctly as possible. Modifying the labels used to indicate ...

Discover More

Selecting Drawing Objects

Excel allows you to create all sorts of drawings using a wide assortment of tools. When you need to take an action upon ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 9 - 4?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.