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: Filling a Drawing Object.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 25, 2016)
When you first insert a drawing object in Excel, it appears as an outline; sort of a stick drawing. You may want to change this by filling the object with either a color or a specific effect. Both of these are done using the Fill tool on the Drawing toolbar. (This is the one that looks like a bucket spilling paint.) To use the tool, simply click on it using the mouse and then click on the object you want filled. It is then filled using the color shown in the bar at the bottom of the Fill tool.
If you want to change the color used for fills, you can do so by clicking on the down-arrow at the right of the Fill tool. This displays a palette of colors (forty of them) from which you can choose a color. If you don't like those colors, you can click on More Fill Colors (just underneath the palette) to pick any color you desire.
A neat feature of Excel is that you can also pick an effect to use for your fill. You do this by choosing Fill Effects at the bottom of the color palette. This displays the Fill Effects dialog box. Using the controls in this dialog box (and on the other tabs in the dialog box), you can specify exactly what special effects you want applied to filling the shape. You can choose to use a gradient (where the fill blends in, from none to full) or apply a texture (such as wood or marble). You can also use any of a number of different patterns, or use your own picture for the fill. The different fill options allow you to make your graphics look quite impressive.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2823) 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: Filling a Drawing Object.
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