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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Making Wider Footer Margins

Want the margins used in your footers (or headers) to be wider than the margins used in the rest of your document? There ...

Discover More

Getting Bookmark Information in VBA

Bookmarks are a handy way to "mark" locations within a document. If you are creating a macro that processes the document ...

Discover More

Very Slow Document Opening with Excel Links

When you link parts of your document to other sources (such as an Excel workbook), you can make opening your document ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Sizing Text Boxes and Cells the Same

Adding a text box to a worksheet is easy. Making sure that text box is the exact size of a cell in the worksheet may not ...

Discover More

Dynamic Text Boxes

You probably know that text boxes can contain text. (Else why call them text boxes?) Did you know that you could make ...

Discover More

Resizing a Text Box in a Macro

Text boxes are easy to add to a worksheet and manually resize, as needed. If you want to resize the text box in a macro, ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 1 + 9?

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.


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.