Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Filling a Drawing Object.

Filling a Drawing Object

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 18, 2017)

When you first insert a drawing object in Excel, it appears as a filled shape. You may not, however, like the color that Excel uses to fill the shape. You can change the color used or you can fill the shape with a specific effect. Both of these are done using the Shape Fill tool on the Format tab of the ribbon. This tool looks like a bucket spilling paint. To use the tool, select the object you want filled and then click the tool. The object is then filled using the color shown in the bar at the bottom of the tool.

If you want to change the color used for fills, you can do so by clicking on the down-arrow at the right of the Shape Fill tool. This displays a palette of colors (seventy of them) from which you can choose. If you don't like those colors, you can click on More Fill Colors to pick any color you desire.

A neat feature of Excel is that you can also pick an effect to use for your fill. You do this by choosing an effect at the bottom of the color palette. Using the fill effects you can specify exactly what special effects you want applied to filling the shape. The different fill options allow you to make your graphics look quite impressive.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8067) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Filling a Drawing Object.

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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