"How To Excel" Mini-Tutorials
by TheExcelAddict.com
"Helping Average Spreadsheet Users Become Local Spreadsheet Experts"

Use Linked AutoShapes To Make Your Data Really Stand Out


If you really want to make a specific piece of data on your worksheet stand out, using a linked AutoShape such as an arrow, star or banner is a great trick to use.

To create an AutoShape, you will need to use the Drawing toolbar. If the Drawing toolbar is not visible, select View, Toolbars, Drawing to display it. On the Drawing toolbar, click the AutoShapes button and choose a shape. Many of these shapes will allow you to type data directly in the object. With others, you can link the object to the contents of a worksheet cell. That's what I'm going to show you now.

Once you choose a shape, click in the area of your worksheet where you want to place the shape and drag to make the shape the desired size (you will be able to move and resize it later). Move your mouse pointer to the edge of the Auto shape and click once to select it. (If you see a blinking I-beam in the middle of the shape you will need to click the edge of the shape again.) Now click the equal sign in the Formula Bar. If you cannot click the equal sign on the Formula Bar, it means that particular shape doesn't allow you to link it to a cell -- try another shape.

After you click the equal sign (or type the equal sign on your keyboard), click the cell on your worksheet that you want to link the shape to or type the cell address in the formula bar and then press Enter. You should now see the data from the linked cell shown within the AutoShape, and in the Formula Bar you should see the address of the linked cell. As the data in the linked cell changes, the data in the AutoShape will also change.

Now you'll probably want to format the AutoShape's background, alignment, etc.. Right click on the AutoShape and selecting Format Autoshape, make the desired formatting changes.


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