• Excel Book Excerpt

Excel Add WordArt to a Worksheet

This page is an advertiser-supported excerpt of the book, Learn Excel 2007-2010 from MrExcel - 512 Excel Mysteries Solved. If you like this topic, please consider buying the entire e-book.

Add WordArt to a Worksheet

Problem: My spreadsheets are blah. How can I make them more eye-catching?

Strategy: You can create attractive spreadsheets by adding WordArt. WordArt has become more complex starting in Excel 2007. This means that you can create far more effects, but it also means it is harder to create the effects you want.

Here are three WordArt samples.


Figure 1332 Sample WordArt.

There are about 1.78E+53 possible combinations of WordArt. Microsoft can only fit 30 of them here, so don’t feel bad if your favorite is not here.

To create WordArt, you select Insert, WordArt. The initial dropdown asks you to choose from among the 30 choices shown below. This is a bit perplexing to WordArt veterans. Unlike in Excel 2003, this gallery offers no twisting effects. But you can easily change every effect in the gallery after you create the WordArt.

Choose one of the types, and Excel will insert new WordArt in the center of the visible range. The WordArt starts with a value YOUR TEXT HERE. The WordArt is surrounded by a dashed box, which indicates that the WordArt is in Text Edit mode. You can start typing the text you want to appear as the WordArt.



Figure 1333 There are about 1.78E+53 possible combinations of WordArt. Microsoft can only fit 30 of them here, so don’t feel bad if your favorite is not here.

There are three places that you can begin formatting WordArt. You can change the font on the Home tab of the ribbon; you can add an outline around the WordArt or add a fill by using the tools in the Shape Styles group of the Format tab; and you can actually format the letters by using the tools in the WordArt Styles group of the Format ribbon. Changes on the Home ribbon tab require you to select all the text in the WordArt before applying the change.

The following figure shows some effects that you can apply using the Shape Styles group. While these few limited examples work in the Shape Styles group, most settings here will frustrate you because they only apply to the shape of the bounding box and not the letters.

In the top example, a gradient is applied from Shape Fill. You’ll notice that the gradient is applied to the area inside the bounding box for the shape. In the next example, a black border is applied using the Shape Outline dropdown. In the third example, Preset 8 is chosen from the Shape Effects dropdown. While this formats the bounding box, it also applies an effect to the letters. In the final example, 3-D Rotation affects all the letters.


Figure 1334 Formatting with the Shape tools applies to the bounding box.

Other settings in the Shape Styles group work well only when you’ve applied a fill or an outline to the WordArt bounding box. If you try to apply a glow or soft edges to WordArt without a border or fill, you would not see any changes. Here are the remaining options in the Shape Effects menu.


Figure 1335 More effects that apply to the bounding box.

The next settings you can change are on the Home ribbon tab or on the mini toolbar. You have to select all the characters in the WordArt to apply these settings. If you plan on using the Home tab, you can simply press Shift+Home when the insertion character is at the end of the text. To get the mini toolbar to appear, it is best to use the mouse to select from left to right and then move the mouse slightly up and to the right. The following figure shows a variety of font changes using the Home tab.


Figure 1336 Change the font size or face.

When most people think of WordArt, they think of the effects available in the WordArt Styles, Effects, Transform menu, which you can use to twist or bend the type to fill a wide variety of shapes. This figure shows some of the available shapes. You do not have to select all the text in the shape to apply a Transform effect.


Figure 1337 Transforms apply the classic WordArt look.

The Text Fill menu in the WordArt Styles group will apply an effect to the letters in the WordArt. Here is a gradient, a picture, and a texture fill.


Figure 1338 Fill the letters with an effect.

The Text Outline menu in the WordArt Styles group controls the color, weight, and style of the outline around the letters, as shown below. Using a white fill and a thick outline for the letters creates an interesting effect. Note how using the Outline menu in WordArt Styles affects the outline of the letters. Using the Outline menu in Shape Styles (a short distance away on the ribbon) affects the square outline around the entire shape.


Figure 1339 WordArt outline effects.

Settings in the WordArt Styles Text Effects menus affect Shadow, Reflection, Glow, and Bevel. These settings can be applied to a portion of the characters in the WordArt. In the figure below, a small glow and a larger glow are applied to the individual words in the Glow Glow WordArt. To apply the effect to all characters in the WordArt, you either select all characters or click on the dotted bounding box around the WordArt to change it to a solid bounding box. Note that the figure below shows just 1 built-in selection for each effect. Each menu actually offers from 9 to 44 built-in effects.

The settings on the fly-out menus are often a small subset of the vast range of settings. If you choose the More option at the bottom of each menu, you will be presented with the Format dialog, where you can access all settings.


Figure 1340 WordArt Text Effects are located in the third dropdown in the WordArt Styles group.


In the 3-D Format category, you can change the Material dropdown to a variety of materials, including wire frame or translucent. In the 3-D Rotation settings, you can rotate the WordArt around three different axes.

Earlier in this topic, I estimated that there were 1.78E+53 different varieties of WordArt possible. That estimate does not include the various options available if you change the inflection points in some of the transforms.

Look for a pink diamond handle when the WordArt is selected. By dragging this handle up or down, you can control the amount of slant applied.

<-Previous Topic Next Topic->

For more resources for Microsoft Excel: