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: Pulling Text from a Cell and Placing It in a Shape.

Pulling AutoShape Text from a Worksheet Cell

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 18, 2015)

AutoShapes are a great way to easily add simple graphics to your worksheets. Better still, AutoShapes are like text boxes, in that they can contain text.

If you know how to add text to a text box, you already know how to add text to an AutoShape. What you may not know how to do is to make that text dynamic, so that it is based on the text stored in a cell of your worksheet. Follow these steps:

  1. Select the AutoShape that you want to contain the text. When it is selected (by clicking it once with the mouse), you'll see small selection handles around the exterior of the AutoShape.
  2. Click once in the Formula bar.
  3. Type an equal sign, and then click on the cell that contains the text you want in the AutoShape.
  4. Press Enter.

That's it; the text in the AutoShape is now tied to the text of the cell you specified in step 3. If you change that text, then the text in the AutoShape changes, as well.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3278) 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: Pulling Text from a Cell and Placing It in a Shape.

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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