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: Drawing Simple Objects.

Drawing Simple Objects

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 13, 2016)

2

Excel includes a feature that allows you to add graphic objects to your worksheets. For the sake of this tip, simple objects include lines, arrows, rectangles (or squares), and ovals (or circles). These are considered simple because it only takes three quick steps to draw each of them.

Drawing objects that involve lines (such as lines and arrows) requires only that you perform a few steps:

  1. Display the Drawing toolbar and select either the Line or Arrow tool by clicking on it with the mouse. (You may need to click the AutoShapes menu first.)
  2. Move the mouse to the starting point for the line or arrow and click and hold the mouse button.
  3. Move the mouse to the other end of the line and release the mouse button.

As you move the mouse in Step 2, notice that Excel displays a line that shows the approximate size, angle, and position of the line or arrow you are creating. When you release the mouse button (step 3), the line or arrow is redrawn in its final position and appearance. If you are drawing an arrow, the arrowhead appears at the end of the line where you ended your drawing (Step 3).

As with lines, the other simple objects only require two points to define them. Each of them, regardless of the final shape, is defined by a rectangle. (Yes, even ellipses and circles are defined by a rectangle—one that contains the entire shape.) You only need to do the following:

  1. If you are using the Drawing toolbar, select the drawing tool by clicking on it with the mouse. (You may need to click the AutoShapes menu first.)
  2. Move the mouse to one corner of the rectangle that will define the boundary of the shape, typically the upper-left corner, and click and hold the mouse button.
  3. Drag the mouse to the opposite rectangle corner (the lower-right) and release the mouse button.

Notice that as you perform step 2, the shape appears on the screen and is dynamically sized as long as you continue to hold down the mouse button and move the mouse. When you release the button, the object is drawn in its final size and shape.

If you want to create a square or a circle, both of which are special forms of rectangles and ovals, Excel makes it easy. All you need to do is hold down the Shift key as you drag the mouse to the second point. Thus, you click the mouse, hold down Shift as you move the mouse pointer, and then release the mouse button.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2520) 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: Drawing Simple Objects.

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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Comments

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What is 9 - 6?

2019-07-03 09:28:39

Allen

Anon,

I *DO* provide version info. You can find it at the very top of this page (big letters, gray box, says "Please Note" in bold), along with a link to a version of this article that would have worked for your version of Excel. That same information is at the very end of the article, just above the "Author Bio/"

You can also find version info at the top-right of the page -- any page -- on this site.

Three places on this page that tell you this information isn't for your version of Excel. Two of those places also include a link to information that *IS* for your version of Excel.

Not sure what else I could have done for you, Anon.

-Allen


2019-07-03 05:21:44

anon

There is no drawing toolbar in Excel 2016, or if so it requires 25 minutes to locate. I spent 20.
There is no autoshapes menu in Excel 2016, or if so requires 25 minutes to locate. I spent 20.

This article is not up to your usual standards. Maybe think about including version info. Or simple screen shots, since the mentally retarded Microsoft interface designers were not content with just allowing you to go view/toolbars/drawing, which wasn't broken, and worked for decades.

It's a tragedy that reliance on your normally invaluable explanations is a necessity in life due to the Excel/Office interface team's severe brain damage.

Truly, the Excel interface designers are incompetent destroyers of human productivity. Truly. Yet I'm sure they sleep like a baby every night.


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