Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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 May 18, 2017)

2

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:

  • 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.
  • 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.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (7761) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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

Changing the Comment Indicator Color

Add a comment to a worksheet, and you'll notice that Excel places a small, red triangle at the upper-right corner of the cell ...

Discover More

Running Macros on Hidden Worksheets

Excel allows you to hide worksheets so that they aren't visible to those using your workbook. Hiding worksheets has a ...

Discover More

Tracked Changes Notification when Opening

If you have Word configured to show markup on-screen and you look through a document, it is easy to tell where changes have ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Flipping a Drawing Object

Don't like the way a drawing object looks? Perhaps flipping the object could help appearances. Excel allows you to flip ...

Discover More

Filling a Drawing Object

Want to add some spice to the graphics in your worksheets? There are many colors and effects in Excel that allow you take a ...

Discover More

Creating a Shape

Ever wanted to create a simple drawing in your worksheet? Excel has made this simple. This tip explains how Excel uses ...

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 3 + 8?

2017-05-19 12:16:13

Peter

Dave

Thanks for letting us know about Tatsuo, he's brilliant. I'm just going to e-mail my contacts with a link!


2017-05-18 09:50:06

Dave

Hi, Allen, If anyone is interested in just what graphic magic you can achieve in Excel, I suggest they do a web search for Tatsuo Horiuchi . His work clearly demonstrates what can be accomplished with patience and a knowledge of how Excel graphics work. While many Excel artists create what might best be termed "pixel art" - the kind of image where the image is clearer the farther away you are and loses definition as you approach, Horiuchi's art is nothing like.


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.