Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Using Text Boxes.

Using Text Boxes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 21, 2021)

1

A text box is a special kind of graphics object that is nothing but a box that can contain text. You can place any text in them you desire, using the same techniques you use to add text to a cell. The way in which you add a text box depends on the version of Excel you are using.

Here's how you can create a text box:

  1. Make sure the Insert tab of the ribbon is selected.
  2. Click on the Text Box tool in the Text group. When you move the mouse cursor into the worksheet area, you'll notice that it changes to a different type of insertion pointer.
  3. Click at a corner of where you want the text box to appear and, while holding down the mouse button, drag to the opposite corner.
  4. Release the mouse button.
  5. Start typing the text you want in the text box.

Once you create the text box and start typing, the text box remains selected. When you want to work with other parts of your worksheet, simply use the mouse to select those parts.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (6128) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Using Text Boxes.

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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What is 7 + 7?

2021-08-23 10:35:12

Gary Lundblad

I love text boxes because they are not bound by cell borders like other data in a spreadsheet is, so they can literally go anywhere on your worksheet, and if you remove the borders of text box, and perhaps even the fill color, they can appear like any other data in your worksheet. Beyond that, text boxes can also contain references to other cells, allowing them to be dynamic. The tricks is that you need to enter the reference in the Formula Bar, not directly in the text box. For example, if you type in the text box "=B3" the text box will contain the text "=B3," but if you type "=B3" in the Formula Bar, the text box will contain whatever is in cell B3.

The Formula Bar is the wide box that sits just below the Ribbon. When you select a cell, the Formula Bar is what displays what's actually in that cell, rather than what might be displayed, meaning if the cell contains a formula, the Formula Bar will show the formula, not the result of the formula.


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