Using the Drawing Toolbar

Like drawing on paper, using Excel's Draw feature takes patience and practice. The Drawing toolbar offers many drawing tools for drawing and modifying lines and shapes, including 3D shapes. The drawing tools also come in handy for annotating your worksheet data and charts.

To display the Drawing toolbar, you click the Drawing button on the Standard toolbar. Figure 11.1 depicts the tools on the Drawing toolbar. To hide the Drawing toolbar, click the Drawing button on the Standard toolbar again.

Figure 11.1. The tools on the Drawing toolbar.

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Table 11.1 lists the drawing tools on the Drawing toolbar and describes what they do.

Table 11.1. Excel's Drawing Tools

Tool

What It Does

Draw

Displays a Draw menu that contains commands for rotating, flipping, nudging, and positioning objects.

Select Objects

Selects drawing objects so that you can move or edit them.

AutoShapes

Adds predesigned shapes to your drawing.

Line

Adds solid, dotted, and dashed lines to your drawing.

Arrow

Adds arrows to your drawing.

Rectangle

Adds a rectangle or square to your drawing.

Oval

Adds an oval or a circle to your drawing.

Text Box

Adds a box into which you can type text.

Insert WordArt

Lets you insert WordArt into your worksheet.

Insert Diagram or Organization Chart

Lets you insert a diagram or organization chart into your worksheet.

Insert Clip Art

Lets you insert clip art into your worksheet.

Insert Picture from File

Lets you insert a picture file into your worksheet.

Fill Color

Adds, removes, and changes the fill color in an object.

Line Color

Adds and removes lines and changes the line color in an object.

Font Color

Changes the color of the font.

Line Style

Changes the line style for lines in objects. Choose any line style from thick to thin from the Line Style palette.

Dash Style

Changes the line style from dots to dashes.

Arrow Style

Changes the arrowhead type for a line, an arc, or a polygon.

Shadow Style

Adds and removes a drop shadow from the border of selected objects.

3-D Style

Adds and formats 3D objects.

After you draw an object, small squares, called selection handles, surround the object's border. The selection handles indicate the object is selected and let you modify the object. Before you can move, resize, or edit an object, you must select it. To select an object, just click anywhere on it. When the selection handles appear, you can then use the handles to move and resize the object.

Other alterations you can make to an object you have created include changing the color, border, and fill. Filling an object places a pattern or color inside the object to make the shape more interesting. You can also delete objects when you no longer need them.

Drawing a Shape

With Excel's drawing tools, you can create an almost endless variety of shapes. You can start with a simple drawing and then build on it. When you want to draw a shape, you click a shape tool on the Drawing toolbar, drag the crosshair pointer straight in a particular direction or diagonally to draw the shape you want, and then release the mouse button. A nice feature about drawing shapes in an Excel worksheet is that you have the gridlines on the worksheet to use as guides for starting and ending an object.

Are you ready to draw some shapes? You don't have to be a talented artist to create vibrant, eye-catching graphics. Try out the Line and Rectangle tools to draw a line and a rectangle in the next To Do exercise. Again, you need to use the Sales workbook, so be sure to have it open before you begin the exercise. You'll be drawing shapes in the Sheet3 sheet.

To Do: Draw a Shape
  1. Click the Sheet3 tab. This sheet is where you'll draw your shapes.

  2. Click the Drawing button on the Standard toolbar. The Drawing toolbar appears at the bottom of the Excel window.

  3. Click the Line button on the Drawing toolbar. The mouse pointer changes to a crosshair when you move it over the worksheet.

  4. Move the crosshair over cell B4. This cell is where you want the object to begin.

  5. Click and drag your crosshair from the left edge of cell B4 to the right edge of C4. This cell is where the object ends. Release the mouse button. Figure 11.2 shows the line object and the Drawing toolbar. Notice the selection handle on each end of the object. These handles indicate the object is selected. You can drag the handles to resize the line object.

    Figure 11.2. A line object and the Drawing toolbar.

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  6. Click outside of the line object to make the selection handles disappear.

  7. To draw a rectangle, click the Rectangle button on the Drawing toolbar. The crosshair pointer appears on the worksheet.

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    If you want to draw a perfect square, click the Rectangle button, and hold down the Shift key when you drag the crosshair pointer diagonally to draw the square. If you want to draw a perfect circle, click the Oval button, and hold down the Shift key when you drag the crosshair pointer diagonally to draw the circle.


  8. Move the crosshair over cell D3. This cell is where you want the rectangle to begin.

  9. Click and drag diagonally from the top-left corner of cell D3 to the bottom-right corner of cell E5. This cell is where the object ends. Release the mouse button. Now you should see a rectangle on your worksheet.

  10. Click outside of the rectangle object to make the selection handles disappear.

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    If the shape didn't turn out the way you want it to, click the shape to select it and press the Delete key. Or click the Undo button on the Standard toolbar.


Adding an AutoShape

The standard shapes available are a line, rectangle, square, oval, and circle. For a greater variety, use those available via the AutoShapes menu on the Drawing toolbar, as shown in Figure 11.3.

Figure 11.3. The AutoShapes menu on the Drawing toolbar.

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To add an AutoShape to your worksheet, click the AutoShapes button on the Drawing toolbar and choose an AutoShape type from the menu. Then click the shape that you like. On your worksheet, click and drag to create the shape. For example, if you click Callouts on the AutoShapes menu, choose the Cloud Callout, and hold down the Shift key while dragging the crosshair pointer diagonally across the cells, Excel inserts the cloud shape on your worksheet. An insertion point appears inside the cloud, ready for you to type text. Type My Artwork and click any cell in the worksheet. Figure 11.4 shows the cloud callout pointing to the shapes you drew earlier.

Figure 11.4. The cloud callout AutoShape.

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If you want to draw a perfect AutoShape shape, hold down the Shift key when you drag the crosshair pointer diagonally to draw the shape.


The Draw menu on the Drawing toolbar contains a command intended for use with AutoShapes. The Change AutoShape command is a special command for converting one AutoShape to another.

To change an AutoShape, click the Draw button on the Drawing toolbar and choose Change AutoShape. You should see a menu of shape types. Click a shape type, and a palette of shapes appears, as shown in Figure 11.5. Click any AutoShape you like. Excel inserts the shape into your worksheet.

Figure 11.5. Change AutoShape command on the Draw menu.

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Rather than change the AutoShape, you can delete the AutoShape and start over. Be sure to select the AutoShape you want to remove and then press the Delete key. Repeat the steps mentioned earlier to insert a different AutoShape.



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