19. Inserting Graphics
Most Excel fans concentrate on numbers , formulas, and charts when they create worksheets. But Excel has another dimensiongraphics. In fact, Excel includes a slew of drawing tools that may seem like they belong more in an artsy illustration program than the rigid confines of a spreadsheet. Some of these drawing features are shameless frills that just take up space on the Excel ribbon. Others are genuinely useful, letting you add useful touches and highlight important information with real pizzazz.
Excel's drawing capabilities fall into the following four categories:
Picture Handling . These features are what most people think of when they think about graphics. Picture handling lets you take the picture files that you have on your computer and insert them into an Excel worksheet. For instance, if you've created the perfect company logo in another program, you may want to place it in a blank spot on your worksheet.
Clip Art . Clip art graphics are usually cartoonish, themed pictures (like a stack of dollar bills or a drawing of a globe). While you probably don't need this stuff in most worksheets, Excel's clip art features are still quite impressive. Instead of limiting you to a small selection of preinstalled image files, Excel lets you search an online collection of thousands of images using subject keywords.
Shape Drawing (and fancy text) . Excel's shape drawing tools let you create images directly on your worksheet. These shapes include arrows, circles, stars, banners, floating text boxes, and captions with zany gradients and 3-D effects. Shape drawing is occasionally useful when you want to highlight information on your worksheet, but it's most practical when you use it with charts.
SmartArt . SmartArt lets you add complete diagrams that are made up of a combination of shapes and text. You can use SmartArt to create organizational charts, simple lists and flow charts, and pyramid-style diagrams. Under the hood, SmartArt uses the shape drawing features to create its diagrams, which means you can use all the same graphical flourishes and fancy effects.
This chapter covers all four kinds of drawing in Excel.