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: Pictures in AutoShapes.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 2, 2019)
Excel allows you to format the appearance of the shapes you place in a worksheet. If you display the Format Shape dialog box, you can change all sorts of colors, lines, fills, fonts, and other attributes of the shape. One really nifty formatting feature is to place a picture within a shape. Follow these steps if you are using Excel 2007 or Excel 2010:
Figure 1. The Format Picture dialog box.
When using Excel 2013 or a later version, you should, instead, follow these steps:
Figure 2. The Format Picture task pane.
The picture you selected in step 6 (Excel 2007 and Excel 2010) or step 7 (later versions of Excel) should now appear in the background of the shape. In most cases the shape looks like a "mask" over the picture, which is a nice effect. You should also use this technique sparingly, as each picture you place in a shape can greatly increase the size of your workbook.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10740) 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: Pictures in AutoShapes.
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