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: Pulling AutoShape Text from a Worksheet Cell.

Pulling Text from a Cell and Placing It in a Shape

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 1, 2020)

5

Shapes are a great way to easily add simple graphics to your worksheets. Better still, shapes are like text boxes, in that they can contain text.

If you know how to add text to a text box, you already know how to add text to a shape. What you may not know how to do is to make that text dynamic, so that it is based on the text stored in a cell of your worksheet. Follow these steps:

  1. Select the shape that you want to contain the text. When it is selected (by clicking it once with the mouse), you'll see small selection handles around the exterior of the shape.
  2. Click once in the Formula bar.
  3. Type an equal sign and then click on the cell that contains the text you want in the shape.
  4. Press Enter.

That's it; the text in the shape is now tied to the text of the cell you specified in step 3. If you change that text, then the text in the shape changes, as well.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9840) 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: Pulling AutoShape Text from a Worksheet Cell.

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

Formatting Footnote Reference Marks

The reference marks that appear for footnotes in a document are normally just superscripted digits. If you want to change ...

Discover More

Converting Phone Numbers

Sometimes you receive a phone number that contains alphabetic characters and you need to convert it to a purely numeric ...

Discover More

Line Numbering and Tables

Some types of documents (such as legal documents) may require that individual lines of text be numbered. If you use ...

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)

Positioning Graphics Evenly

If you need to arrange a group of graphics so that they are evenly distributed between a starting point and an ending ...

Discover More

Setting a Transparent Color for an Image

Want to "see through" an image you place on a worksheet? You can do so by using the steps in this tip.

Discover More

Styles for Lines, Dashes, and Arrows

Create a simple drawing object, and Excel makes some assumptions about how that object should appear. Excel provides a ...

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 one more than 9?

2020-04-01 18:40:55

Ronmio

Keep in mind that the formula in the text box (or any shape) is limited to just a simple, single-cell reference (e.g., "=$A$1"). If you want to do something more verbose, you'll want to create a helper cell where you can have a more elaborate formula and then reference that helper cell instead. For example, in cell B2, enter something this:
="This is what is in cell A1 on the Data sheet: "&TEXT($A$1,"#,##0.??")
and then in your text box, use "=$B$2"


2015-04-29 04:41:55

Charles R Gaush

The explanation of the tiop is really not very clear. It sound interesting so how about a few examples of the results of this tip. Tips are fine but let's see the 'pudding'.


2015-04-27 12:11:39

Lolly Shu

That is just cool. I can think of a number of ways that can help my dull reports look more interesting! Thank you for the tip. :-)


2015-04-27 11:04:55

Michael (Micky) Avidan

@Russell,
Only via VBA (Office Programming Language).
Michael (Micky) Avidan
“Microsoft® Answers" - Wiki author & Forums Moderator
“Microsoft®” MVP – Excel (2009-2015)
ISRAEL


2015-04-26 18:18:53

Russell Robinson

What about going the other way?

Shape( with text) ----> Cell (with text)


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.