Format Graphics

Learning Outcomes

  • Format graphics

There are times when the format of a graphic needs to be changed and Excel provides tools to simplify those modifications. Formatting tools are located within the SmartArt Format ribbon bar. In order to see these tools, select a section within a graphic you wish to modify, then select Format in the ribbon. Like with the SmartArt Design area, the Format areas can be rolled over with a cursor to see the graphic change with the various possibilities.

Excel screenshot of ribbon menu for Format tab for graphics.

There are three main areas for formatting a graphic.

  1. Shapes
  2. Shape Styles and Effects
  3. WordArt Styles

Formatting Shapes

These options allow the shape of the graphic text boxes. A different shape may be used to highlight specific types of information or to make one stand apart from the areas of a graphic. First select the area you wish to change in the existing graphic. Select the Change Shape button in the Shapes group, select a shape from the dropdown menu options and click on the desired shape for the object in a graphic.

Excel screenshot of Format tab, Change Shape button displaying all shape options.

Note: Change multiple objects simultaneously

Change more than one object at a time by holding down the CTRL key (Shift key on a Mac) and select all objects you wish to change to the same shape before selecting a new shape.

Formatting Shape Styles and Effects

Excel offers options to change the fill color, outline style color and weight, as well as adding effects to the shapes or objects in a graphic. These formatting tools allow you to customize your graphic to enhance the Excel worksheet. Select the dropdown arrow to open the dropdown menu illustrating the various options for the graphic. If a style has a gray checkered pattern this implies transparency. Roll over the options to display a preview of the objects selected in a graphic. Click an option to apply the new Shape style or Shape effect.

Shape Styles

Excel screenshot of Format tab, Theme Styles options for graphics.

Shape Effects

Excel screenshot of Format tab, Shape Effects for options for graphics.

Formatting WordArt Styles

A different text style can make a graphic more memorable. Formatting options available include changing text outlines, effects, color and textures. Each style option is changed by the same method; open menu options, click on the option desired to change graphic word style.

There are two ways to display these menu options from which to choose the WordArt Style changes:

Method 1

Select the small down arrow next to the words and a drop-down menu will be displayed. Choose your desired WordArt effect style, click on option to select and change graphic.

Excel screenshot of Format tab, Text Effects options for graphics in dropdown menu.

Method 2

Select the small arrow in the lower right area of the section and a Text Effects task pane will open to the right of the graphic. Highlight the text you wish to change, choose your desired WordArt effect style, and click on the desired option to select and change the graphic’s text style.

Excel screenshot of Format tab, Text Effects options for graphics in dropdown menu.

Practice Questions

Note: Additional Menu Display Options

Many of the ribbon area groups (not just WordArt Styles group) have a small downward pointing arrow visible in the corner of a group. This can be clicked to open a menu displaying all options for a specific group to the right of a worksheet.