About drawing objects and pictures

You can add graphics to your worksheets and charts to make them more visually appealing, to create eye-catching reports, or to add emphasis. For example, you can display a logo on your worksheet, create a flowchart, and use graphics in chart data markers (data marker: A bar, area, dot, slice, or other symbol in a chart that represents a single data point or value that originates from a worksheet cell. Related data markers in a chart constitute a data series.). You can make your worksheet interactive by using graphic objects as hyperlinks (hyperlink: Colored and underlined text or a graphic that you click to go to a file, a location in a file, a Web page on the World Wide Web, or a Web page on an intranet. Hyperlinks can also go to newsgroups and to Gopher, Telnet, and FTP sites.) or by assigning buttons to macros.

Types of graphics

ShowAbout pictures

When you're creating art or designs with Microsoft Office programs, it's helpful to know which types—bitmaps or drawn pictures—you're using. Your formatting and editing options will vary, depending on the type of picture you're working with.

ShowWhat is a bitmap?

Bitmap pictures (also called paint-type or raster images) are made from a series of small dots, much like a piece of graph paper with specific squares filled in to form an image. Bitmaps are created with and edited in paint programs, such as Microsoft Paint. All scanned graphics and photographs are bitmaps. When they are resized, they lose definition, and the individual dots that make up the picture become visible.

You can change the way colors look in a bitmap picture by adjusting the brightness and contrast, converting color to black and white or grayscale, or creating transparent areas. To change specific colors in a bitmap, you need to use a photo editing program.

Bitmap pictures are often saved with a .bmp, .png, .jpg, or .gif extension.

ShowWhat is a drawn picture?

Drawn pictures (also called vector drawings) are created from lines, curves, rectangles, and other objects. The individual lines can be edited, moved, and rearranged. When a drawn picture is resized, the computer redraws the lines and shapes so that they retain their original definition and perspective. AutoShapes (AutoShapes: A group of ready-made shapes that includes basic shapes, such as rectangles and circles, plus a variety of lines and connectors, block arrows, flowchart symbols, stars and banners, and callouts.) are drawn pictures.

Because a drawn picture is made of lines and shapes, you can group and ungroup, reorder, and change the color of one or all parts of the picture.

Drawn pictures are saved in the format of the application that created them. For example, Microsoft Windows Metafiles (metafile: A vector-based graphic. Metafiles are represented as collections of lines rather than pixels, so you can manipulate them without the distortions common to bitmap (raster) graphics.) are saved with a .wmf extension.

ShowAbout reducing a picture's file size

When you insert a picture (picture: A file (such as a metafile) that you can ungroup and manipulate as two or more objects or a file that stays as a single object (such as bitmaps).) with a file size that is greater than a certain threshold, your Microsoft Office program presents you with the option to compress the picture before inserting it. The program automatically selects the type of compression that best suits the type of picture.

By compressing the picture's file size, you will help control the size of the file you are inserting it into. However, the picture might lose some quality.

To save room on your hard disk or to reduce download time, when you're formatting a picture you can use the Compress Pictures feature to do the following:

Finding clips

ShowAbout the Clip Organizer

The Microsoft Clip Organizer (Clip Organizer: Microsoft Office program that contains drawings, photographs, sounds, videos, and other media files that you can insert and use in presentations, publications, and other Office documents.) contains drawings, photographs, sounds, videos, and other media files—called clips—that you can insert and use in presentations, publications, and other Microsoft Office documents.

In an Office program, you can find, add, and organize media clips by using the following tools.

Clip Art task pane     Point to Picture on the Insert menu, and then click Clip Art to open a task pane (task pane: A window within an Office program that provides commonly used commands. Its location and small size allow you to use these commands while still working on your files.) where you can search for clips. Although this task pane resembles the Office Basic Search task pane, you use it to find media clips, not documents. You can search for media files based on descriptive keywords, file name, file format (file format: The way in which information is stored in a file so that a program can open and save the file. A file's structure defines how it is stored and displayed. File format is indicated by an extension after the file name, such as .doc or .docx.), and clip collections (clip collection: A hierarchical organization of media clips. You can create your own clip collections, import clip collections, or add, move, or copy clips from one collection to another.).

Clip Organizer     The Organize clips link can be found at the bottom of the Clip Art task pane and opens the main Clip Organizer window. You can use Clip Organizer to browse through clip collections, add clips, or catalog clips in ways that make sense to you. For example, you can create a collection to group the clips you use most frequently, or let Clip Organizer automatically add and catalog media files on your hard disk.

Office Online     If you have an Internet connection open, clip art search results will automatically include content from the Clip Art and Media site on Office Online. Or, you can visit the site yourself by clicking Clip art on Office Online at the bottom of the task pane.

ShowAbout finding clips

Using the Clip Art task pane (task pane: A window within an Office program that provides commonly used commands. Its location and small size allow you to use these commands while still working on your files.), you can quickly and easily find photographs, drawings, sound effects, music, videos, and other media files—called clips—to use in Microsoft Office documents.

You can search for clips by entering search keywords or phrases in normal, everyday language—for example, "buildings" or "people at work." If you find a clip that is close to what you're looking for, you can find more clips based on a similar artistic style.

If you want to narrow your search, you can specify the clip collections (clip collection: A hierarchical organization of media clips. You can create your own clip collections, import clip collections, or add, move, or copy clips from one collection to another.) you want to search or ignore, or choose to search only for certain types of media files.

ShowSearch results

As soon as you start a search, the Clip Art task pane begins listing thumbnails (thumbnail: A miniature representation of a picture.) of drawings, photos, sounds, and other media files.

If a clip isn't installed on your computer, you'll see an icon in the lower-left corner of the thumbnail that tells you where the clip can be found.

Icon Clip location
CD-ROM icon CD-ROM or DVD
Clip Gallery Live icon Microsoft Clip Art and Media on Office Online
Icon for Microsoft Partner Web site (free) Microsoft Provider Web site (free)
Icon image Microsoft Partner Web site (available for purchase)
Icon image Unavailable

If a clip is an animated (animated GIF: A file that contains a series of Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) images that are displayed in rapid sequence by some Web browsers to produce an animated effect.) GIF, you'll see this icon in the lower-right corner of the thumbnail: Icon image

ShowSearch tips

You can use everyday language to describe the clip you want to find. The following guidelines can help you refine keyword searches.

Type this keyword To find
car Clips with "car" as the exact search keyword
blue car Clips with the search key words "blue" and "car"
"blue car" Clips with the phrase "blue car"
blue, car Clips with the search key word "blue" or "car"

You can also search by entering the file name of the media clip you want to find. If you don't know the exact file name, you can substitute wildcard characters for one or more real characters.

  • Use the asterisk (*) as a substitute for zero or more characters in a file name. For example, type car*.jpg to locate file names like "cardboard.jpg" or "carton.jpg".
  • Use the question mark (?) as a substitute for a single character in a file name. For example, type car?.jpg to locate file names like "car1.jpg" or "car2.jpg", but not "carton.jpg".

ShowThe Microsoft Clip Organizer window

If you don't find what you need by using the Clip Art task pane, you can open the main Clip Organizer (Clip Organizer: Microsoft Office program that contains drawings, photographs, sounds, videos, and other media files that you can insert and use in presentations, publications, and other Office documents.) window, where you can browse through organized collections of media clips. The clips in Clip Organizer are sorted into collections—for example, Office Collections contains the media files that are included as part of Microsoft Office.

Clip Organizer has its own Help system, where you'll find such information as how to organize your clips in collections, how to assign keywords to clips for easy searching, and how to work with the Clip Organizer by using shortcut keys (shortcut key: A function key or key combination, such as F5 or CTRL+A, that you use to carry out a menu command. In contrast, an access key is a key combination, such as ALT+F, that moves the focus to a menu, command, or control.).

Shapes

ShowAbout shapes

Shapes can be resized, rotated, flipped, colored, and combined to make more complex shapes. Many have an adjustment handle (adjustment handle: A diamond-shaped handle used to adjust the appearance but not the size of most AutoShapes. For example, you can adjust a rounded rectangle to be more or less rounded.) that you can use to change the most prominent feature of a shape—for example, you can change the size of the point on an arrow.

The AutoShapes (AutoShapes: A group of ready-made shapes that includes basic shapes, such as rectangles and circles, plus a variety of lines and connectors, block arrows, flowchart symbols, stars and banners, and callouts.) available on the Drawing toolbar (toolbar: A bar with buttons and options that you use to carry out commands. To display a toolbar, press ALT and then SHIFT+F10.) include several categories of shapes: lines, connectors, basic shapes, flowchart elements, stars and banners, and callouts. More shapes can be found in the Clip Organizer (Clip Organizer: Microsoft Office program that contains drawings, photographs, sounds, videos, and other media files that you can insert and use in presentations, publications, and other Office documents.) as well.

You can add text to shapes. The text you add becomes part of the shape—if you rotate or flip the shape, the text rotates or flips with it.

Text boxes (text box: A movable, resizable container for text or graphics. Use text boxes to position several blocks of text on a page or to give text a different orientation from other text in the document.) can be treated as shapes. They are formatted in many of the same ways shapes are formatted, including adding colors, fills, and borders.

ShowAbout positioning text in shapes

Some types of shapes can include associated text. Shapes with this feature include most AutoShapes (AutoShapes: A group of ready-made shapes that includes basic shapes, such as rectangles and circles, plus a variety of lines and connectors, block arrows, flowchart symbols, stars and banners, and callouts.) (except lines, connectors, and freeforms (freeform: Any shape you draw by using the Curve, Freeform, and Scribble tools. Freeform shapes can include straight lines and freehand curves. They can be drawn opened or closed and can be edited.)), text boxes (text box: A movable, resizable container for text or graphics. Use text boxes to position several blocks of text on a page or to give text a different orientation from other text in the document.), and WordArt (WordArt: Text objects you create with ready-made effects to which you can apply additional formatting options.).

When you type text directly into an AutoShape or text box, the text is attached to the shape, and you can:

  • Adjust and position the text within it.
  • Make the text wrap in the shape or place it in the top, bottom, or middle of the shape.
  • Change the margins between the text and the edge of the shape.
  • Resize the shape to fit the text precisely.

If the shape is WordArt, you can create shadowed, skewed, rotated, and stretched text, as well as text that has been fitted to predefined shapes. Text in WordArt does not wrap or need margin settings, because the text is an object.

ShowAbout text shadows and 3-D effects

Depending on the effect you want, you can shadow or emboss text in three different ways:

Text shadowing examples

Callout 1 Add shadow directly to text

Callout 2 Add shadow to a text box (text box: A movable, resizable container for text or graphics. Use text boxes to position several blocks of text on a page or to give text a different orientation from other text in the document.) (unfilled object)

Callout 3 Add WordArt (WordArt: Text objects you create with ready-made effects to which you can apply additional formatting options.)

ShowAbout connector lines

There are three types of connector lines to connect objects—straight, elbow (angled), and curved.

Types of connector lines

After you choose a connector AutoShape (AutoShapes: A group of ready-made shapes that includes basic shapes, such as rectangles and circles, plus a variety of lines and connectors, block arrows, flowchart symbols, stars and banners, and callouts.), blue connector sites appear on objects as you move the mouse pointer over them. These points indicate where you can attach a connector line.

Connection sites

When you rearrange objects that are joined with a connector line, the connectors remain attached to the objects and move with the objects. If you move either end of a connector, that end unlocks or detaches from the object. You can then lock it to another connection site on the same object, or you can lock it to another object. Once the connector locks on a connection site, the connector stays connected to the objects, no matter how you move each object.

Locked connectors

Callout 1 Locked connector

Callout 2 Unlocked connector

After you rearrange connected objects, some connectors might need to be rerouted to make the most direct connections and keep connectors from crossing objects.

Changing drawing objects or graphics

ShowAbout resizing or cropping an object

There are two ways that you can change the size of a picture (picture: A file (such as a metafile) that you can ungroup and manipulate as two or more objects or a file that stays as a single object (such as bitmaps).) — resizing and cropping.

Resizing changes the dimensions of the picture by stretching or shrinking it.

Before and after examples of resizing

Cropping reduces the size of the picture by removing the vertical or horizontal edges. Cropping is often used to hide or trim a part of a picture, either for emphasis or to remove unwanted portions.

Before and after example of cropping

You can also outcrop, which adds a margin around a picture.

You can always restore a resized or a cropped picture to its original size. If you're certain you won't want to undo your work, then after you crop the picture, use the Optimize Pictures feature to delete the cropped parts of the picture from the file completely.

ShowAbout transparent areas

When printed, transparent areas in pictures are the same color as the paper on which they're printed. In an electronic display — such as a Web page — transparent areas are the same color as the background. Metafiles, such as those with shapes, usually have transparent areas.

Although you cannot change the transparency of an animated GIF (animated GIF: A file that contains a series of Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) images that are displayed in rapid sequence by some Web browsers to produce an animated effect.) picture by using the Picture toolbar (toolbar: A bar with buttons and options that you use to carry out commands. To display a toolbar, press ALT and then SHIFT+F10.), you can make these changes in an animated GIF editing program, and then insert the file.

ShowAbout stacking objects

Objects (object: A table, chart, graphic, equation, or other form of information. Objects created in one application, for example spreadsheets, and linked or embedded in another application are OLE objects.) automatically stack in individual layers as you add them. You see the stacking order when objects overlap — the top object covers a portion of objects beneath it.

Objects in a stack

You can move individual objects or groups (group: A collection of objects that behave as one for the purpose of moving, resizing, or rotating them. A group can be composed of multiple sets of groups.) of objects in a stack. For example, you can move objects up or down within a stack one layer at a time, or you can move them to the top or bottom of a stack in one move. You can overlap objects when you draw to create different effects.

ShowAbout grouping and ungrouping objects

When you group objects (object: A table, chart, graphic, equation, or other form of information. Objects created in one application, for example spreadsheets, and linked or embedded in another application are OLE objects.), you combine them so you can work with them as though they were a single object. You can flip, rotate, and resize or scale all objects in a group as a single unit. You can also change the attributes (attribute: An object or text feature, such as line fill or text color, that you can manipulate by using drawing tools and menu commands.) of all objects in a group at one time — for example, you might change the fill color or add a shadow to all objects in the group. Or, you can select an item within a group and apply an attribute, without ungrouping. You can also create groups within groups to help you build complex drawings.

You can ungroup a group of objects at any time and then regroup them later.

Excel applications for graphics

ShowUsing graphics as data markers

You can add graphic objects to embedded charts and chart sheets, and you can also use graphics as data markers.

Chart with graphics as data markers

ShowUsing graphics as hyperlinks

You can make graphics and buttons "hot" by using them as hyperlinks. When you click the graphic, you go to a specified location in the current document or Web page, to a different Microsoft Excel workbook or Web page, or to a file that was created in a different program. For example, you can insert a graphic that represents your company's stock symbol and then use it as a hyperlink to go to a page that contains your company's current stock prices.

Graphic used as a hyperlink

Callout 1 Hyperlinked graphic

ShowUsing macros with graphics

You can assign a macro—that is, an automated Visual Basic for Applications program—to run when you click a graphic or button. You can even use graphics on worksheets to create an integrated workbook interface for your automated program. For example, you can create a graphic that represents a calculator and assign a macro to it that finds and displays the current monthly budget for your company.

Graphic used to start a macro

Callout 1 Graphic assigned a macro

ShowCreating pictures of cells, charts, and other objects

You can create pictures of worksheet data, charts, and other objects and use them as illustrations on a worksheet or in a document created in another program. You can resize, move, and change a picture as you can any drawing object.

You can also create a linked picture of worksheet data so that the picture can be updated when the source data changes.

 
 
Applies to:
Excel 2003