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: Styles for Lines, Dashes, and Arrows.

Styles for Lines, Dashes, and Arrows

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated March 4, 2023)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Excel allows you to place many different types of graphics objects within your worksheets. One common type of graphic object is a line or arrow. When you first insert lines or arrows into your worksheet, Excel places them using a thin line. You may want to change the width of the line used, as well as the style of line or arrow. Excel allows you to do this using three tools on the Drawing toolbar.

  • The Line Style tool allows you to select a line width and style.
  • The Dash Style tool is used to specify a non-solid style for the line
  • The Arrow Style tool is used to indicate how you want the arrowheads to appear.

To use the tools, make sure you select the line you want changed before you click on a tool. You can change the line styles for any drawing composed of lines, but not for AutoShapes, rectangles, or ovals.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2461) 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: Styles for Lines, Dashes, and Arrows.

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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