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: Understanding Fill Effects.

Understanding Fill Effects

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 6, 2019)

Excel is not a specialized graphics program, by any stretch of the imagination—it is a spreadsheet program. However, you can insert drawing objects which may be beneficial to the information you are trying to convey in the worksheet. You can apply a few fancy effects to your drawing objects when you fill them with a color. To see the available effects, follow these steps:

  1. Select the drawing object you want to modify.
  2. Click on the down-arrow next to the Fill Color tool on the Drawing toolbar. Excel displays a color menu.
  3. From the color menu, click on Fill Effects. Excel displays the Fill Effects dialog box.

You can use the tools in the dialog box to change how the filling in the drawing object is rendered. The tabs in the dialog box allow the following:

  • Gradient. This tab is used to modify the density of the color used in various parts of the drawing object. You should experiment with these to get the desired effect.
  • Texture. This tab displays many different surface textures you can use to fill your drawing object. There are some great marble, fabric, and wood textures provided with Excel.
  • Pattern. This tab presents many different patterns you can use in conjunction with whatever fill color you have used. Many of the patterns are reminiscent of the patterns you can use in designing your Windows desktop.
  • Picture. This tab allows you to pick a picture that is used to fill your drawing object. Depending on the picture you use, this can create some very interesting special effects.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2824) 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: Understanding Fill Effects.

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

Displaying Negative Times

Excel allows you to perform math using times as operands. If you subtract a later time from an earlier time, you should ...

Discover More

Shortcut to Move between Two Worksheets

Moving between to adjacent worksheets is easy; Excel provides a shortcut key to do the trick. If you want to move between ...

Discover More

Changing the Lock Screen's Background Picture

Don't like the picture you first see when you look at your computer? Windows makes it easy to change the Lock Screen ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Two-Level Axis Labels

Need a chart that uses two lines for axis labels? It's easy to do if you know how to set up your data in the worksheet, ...

Discover More

Creating a Log/Log Chart

If you need to create a chart that uses logarithmic values on both axes, it can be confusing how to get what you want. ...

Discover More

Changing Line Color in a Drawing Object

Don't like the color of the lines that Excel chose for your drawing object? It's easy to choose your own colors, as ...

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 0 + 7?

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.