Moving Objects with a Chart

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated March 11, 2023)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Irving created a chart and placed a text box on that chart. He also drew a line on the chart to serve as a reference for users. If he moves the chart, the text box and the line don't move with it. Irving wonders if there is a way to "lock" the text box and the line so that they move whenever he moves the chart.

There are two ways to approach this. First, you may want to consider how you are actually creating the text boxes and lines. If you select the chart before you create them, you'll notice that Excel makes some new tabs available on the ribbon. Click the Layout tab, and you'll notice an Insert Shapes group. You can select shapes and lines from these, and they become part of your chart and will move with it. (Use a rectangular shape in lieu of a text box; Excel allows you to add text inside the shape just as you would with a text box.)

If your text box and line are not part of the chart itself—if they can be moved outside the bounds of the chart by dragging them off the chart—then you can "lock" them in position by grouping objects. Follow these general steps:

  1. Click on the text box to select it.
  2. Hold down the Shift key as you click on the line you added.
  3. Continue holding down the Shift key as you click the chart. (Best place is to click the border of the chart.)
  4. Release the Shift key. All three elements remain selected.
  5. Display the Format tab of the ribbon.
  6. In the Arrange group, click the Group tool and then choose the Group option.

At this point, all three items are grouped together and they move as a whole. You'll note that, after grouping, there is an "outer" border on the group that is a bit outside the original chart border. It is this outer border you'll need to click to select the group as you move it around.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (736) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

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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