Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 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: Nudging a Graphic.

Nudging a Graphic

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 5, 2020)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


You already know that you can insert graphics in an Excel worksheet and that you can position those graphics using the mouse. Sometimes using the mouse doesn't give the greatest amount of control over the placement of an object. For this reason, you may want to only use the mouse to handle the "rough placement" of a graphic. You can then nudge the graphic into its final location.

To nudge a graphic, simply make sure it is selected, and then use the arrow keys. Pressing an arrow key moves the graphic in the direction indicated.

It should be pointed out that this technique works just fine if you are nudging a graphic such as a shape, a text box, or an inserted image—and if those graphics are on a regular worksheet. In fact, you can select multiple graphics (hold down the Ctrl key as you click on each one) and then use the arrow keys to nudge them.

What doesn't seem to work is if you place any of these objects on a chart sheet. The, the arrow keys simply "cycle" between the various graphic objects you've placed on the chart. Further, if the chart is actually an object on a worksheet (not on its own chart sheet), then you can't nudge in the manner already described.

If the chart is an object visible in a worksheet (not on its own chart sheet), then you can nudge it by holding down the Ctrl key and left-clicking on the chart. This selects the chart, as an object, and then the arrow keys will work to nudge the object.

If the graphic objects are on a chart sheet, there is no way that we've been able to discover to do the nudging.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10257) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Nudging a Graphic.

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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