Excel: Draw Perfect Circles

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Problem: : The oval tool in the Drawing toolbar is hard to use. If I start drawing the rectangle in the upper-left corner of the cell, the shape will start in that corner. But if I start drawing a circle in the same spot, the oval I draw will not completely include the text in the cells. Also, why aren't there circle and square shapes? I have a hard time drawing perfectly round circles and perfectly square squares.

Strategy: You can use keyboard keys to make drawing shapes easier.

First, to force an oval to be a perfect circle, you hold down the Shift key while you draw. Using the Shift key will also force a rectangle to be a square and a triangle to be an equilateral triangle.

  1. Use Shift while drawing to make circles and squares.

    Second, a circle or an oval is hard to draw. In order to draw the circle around a cell, you have to start fairly far outside the cell. How can you know how far above your data to start in order to include all the data? One solution is to hold down the Ctrl key when you draw the oval (or Ctrl+Shift to draw a circle). Then, instead of starting in the left corner, you start directly in the middle of the circle. As you drag outward, the circle will grow.

    The other modifying key is the Alt key. A rectangle drawn with the Alt key held down will snap to the cell borders. The rectangle can either be two columns wide or three columns wide, but not 2.5 columns wide when you use the Alt key.

  2. Use Alt & edges align with cell.

    If you want to resize a square, hold down the Shift key while you drag a corner handle. This will force Excel to keep the aspect ratio the same.

    Additional Details: If you need to produce many identically sized squares, Ctrl+drag the first square to make an identical copy. You can then Ctrl+click both squares and Ctrl+drag to create four squares.

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