Monday, April 04, 2005

Using Freeform lines in Excel

Andrew from Andrew's Excel Tips has posted two great articles about using freeform lines in Excel.

The first article shows how to create freeform shapes and some uses.

The Freeform button
You can access the Freeform button, from AutoShapes, Lines or you might find it worth your time to drag a button to a suitable toolbar if you plan on using it often. (Select Tools, Customize, Commands, AutoShapes and scroll down to Freeform)
Old and New Excel Versions
This is where it gets tricky. If you draw an enclosed shape using a Freeform line, the shape then becomes opaque and I seem to remember that the Transparency features of older Excel versions are not as good as the more recent versions. The best you can choose in this case is Semitransparent, which is grainy and quite hard to see through.
There is a simple solution. Draw an almost enclosed shape (use the white tags to adjust the size and/or increase the zoom size to make things easier). Right-click the shape and choose Close Path. You now have an totally enclosed shape that is perfectly transparent. (Or you could just double click an already opaque enclosed shape, then select No Fill for the Fill Color)

The second article goes into detail about creating complex and 3D shapes.

For full articles and pictures of the results go to his website.
Full article 1
Full article 2