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: Understanding Fill Effects.

Understanding Fill Effects

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 31, 2018)

Excel is not a specialized graphics program, by any stretch of the imagination—it is a spreadsheet program. However, you can insert drawing objects that may be beneficial to the information you are trying to convey in the worksheet. You can apply a few fancy effects to your drawing objects when you fill them with a color. To see the available effects, follow these steps:

  1. Select the drawing object you want to modify.
  2. Make sure the Format tab of the ribbon is displayed.
  3. In the Shape Styles group, click the Shape Fill tool. Excel displays a number of fill options.

It is the options at the bottom of those offered that represent the fill effects. You can select any of the following:

  • Picture. This tab allows you to pick a picture that is used to fill your drawing object. Depending on the picture you use, this can create some very interesting special effects.
  • Gradient. This tab is used to modify the density of the color used in various parts of the drawing object. You should experiment with these to get the desired effect.
  • Texture. This tab displays many different surface textures you can use to fill your drawing object. There are some great marble, fabric, and wood textures provided with Excel.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (7761) 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: Understanding Fill Effects.

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

Turning the Legend On and Off

When you create a chart in Excel, the program may automatically add a legend that explains the contents of the chart. In ...

Discover More

Changing the Format of Existing Dates

There are a myriad of ways in which a date can be formattedâ€"day first, month first, number of digits in the year, etc. ...

Discover More

Calculating Form Fields

Form fields allow you to create (you guessed it) forms. Here is a description of how you can force Word to calculate the ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Pictures inside Shapes

Filling one of Excel's drawing shapes with a picture of your choosing is a neat trick. Here's how to do it.

Discover More

Creating a Drawing Object

Creating simple drawing objects is easy in Excel. All you need to do is use the large number of drawing tools available ...

Discover More

Drawing Lines

Excel doesn't limit you to only numbers and text in your worksheets. You can also add different types of shapes. Here's ...

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 nine more than 3?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


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.