Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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: Adding Drop Shadows.

Adding Drop Shadows

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated January 20, 2024)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


One helpful drawing tool you can use to format your drawings is known as the Shadow Style tool. Using this tool you can add a drop shadow behind an object. Adding drop shadows can help add more depth to your graphics, making them look like they are raised off the surface of the Excel worksheet.

To apply a drop shadow to an object, start by selecting the object. The Format tab of the ribbon should be visible. In the Shape Styles group, click the Shape Effects tool. Excel displays a drop-down list from which you should select Shadow. The resulting options indicate the different types of drop shadows you can apply to the shape. You can also modify the shadow, once placed, by choosing Shadow Settings (Excel 2007) or Shadow Options (later versions of Excel).

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12702) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Adding Drop Shadows.

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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