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: Pulling AutoShape Text from a Worksheet Cell.

Pulling Text from a Cell and Placing It in a Shape

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 25, 2015)


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, and 2013. 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. ...


Finding the Analysis ToolPak Add-In

The Analysis ToolPak is used to add some very handy worksheet functions to Excel. If you don't have it installed, and you ...

Discover More

Checking Your Data File

When you get ready to merge a document with a data source, you'll want to make sure that everything is "as expected" ...

Discover More

Determining If a Year is a Leap Year

Need to figure out if a given year is a leap year? It's not as easy as you think! This tip provides a plethora of ways ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Moving and Copying Graphics Objects

Excel doesn't just work with numbers and text. You can also add graphics objects to your worksheets, and then use Excel's ...

Discover More

Changing Line Color in a Drawing Object

Don't like the color of the lines that Excel chose for your drawing object? It's easy to choose your own colors, as ...

Discover More

Displaying Images based on a Result

Got some images that you want to appear in a worksheet based on the result displayed in a cell? Figuring out how to ...

Discover More

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

View most recent newsletter.


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 six more than 8?

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

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

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

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.