(Legacy) Microsoft Office 2007: Drawing in Office 2007

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This article is based on legacy software.

Adding visual components to your projects can enhance or emphasize your message. If you are unable to find clip art or other graphics that fit your needs, Office provides tools that allow you to draw objects. You can draw your own objects entirely or customize a number of ready-made shapes by changing their colors or sizes. You can also add text to the objects you create. This document's instructions work with most Office 2007 programs. However, for instructions specific to Publisher 2007, refer to Drawing and Manipulating Objects.

Drawing Shapes

Office allows you to create simple shapes and objects with its built-in drawing tools, and also comes with a set of ready-made shapes you can use in your documents. The shapes can be formatted in numerous ways such as resizing or rotating, changing the color of all or part of the shape, or adding three-dimensional effects such as beveling and shadows. Shapes can also be combined with other shapes to make more complex shapes.

Drawing Preset Shapes

In the Insert command tab, the Shapes group contains several categories of shapes, including lines, basic shapes, block arrows, flowchart elements, stars and banners, and callouts.

  1. On the Ribbon, select the Insert command tab
    The Insert tab commands are visible.

  2. (Optional) To create a frame for several shapes, in the Illustrations group, click Shapes shapes» select New Drawing Canvas.
    A blank drawing appears in your document; the Format commands are displayed. 
    NOTE: This option is available only in Word.

  3. In the Illustrations group, click Shapesshapes » select the desired shape.

  4. Click and hold the mouse where you want the shape to start.

  5. Drag the mouse to create the desired shape.
    An outline indicating the size of your shape appears.

  6. Release the mouse button.
    The shape appears in your document.

Drawing Custom Shapes

By using the three freehand drawing tools—CurveFreeform, and Scribble—you can create your own shape.Curve lets you draw shapes that have curves. Freeform lets you draw shapes that have both straight lines and curves. Scribble lets you draw shapes freehand, with fine detail. 


  1. From the Insert tab, in the Illustrations group, click Shapes » select the desired tool.

  2. To create a Curve, click and release the mouse button to begin your curve. As you draw, click and release the mouse button to anchor a point which your curve will form around. To finish your drawing, double click. 
    To create a Freeform, click and release the mouse button to begin your freeform shape. As you draw, click and release the mouse button to anchor the endpoints of straight lines or click and drag the mouse to draw curves—you can do both in one drawing. To finish your drawing, double click.
    To create a Scribble, click and drag the mouse to draw your scribble. To finish your drawing, release the mouse button.

Editing Custom Shapes

In addition to more common ways of modifying (i.e., changing the appearance) and manipulating (i.e., changing the position) of your object, Office features an additional method, called Edit Points, to fine-tune the look of custom shapes. These allow you to reshape small segments of your drawing.

  1. Double click your custom shape.

  2. From the Format tab, in the Insert Shapes group, click Edit Shape » select Edit Points.
    Black dots, called Edit Points, will appear at various places in your shape.

  3. To make the desired changes, click and drag an Edit Point.

  4. When you are finished editing your object, to turn off Edit Points, click anywhere on the page.

Formatting Shapes

Once you have created an object in your document, you can change its appearance by moving, adjusting the size, and changing the color of the object. When selected, an object has "handles" that can be used to stretch the object taller or shorter, wider or thinner, or proportionally larger or smaller. You can also manipulate your objects several other ways, such as shading them or adjusting them to contain text. Office 2007 allows you to preview any changes by temporarily changing the appearance of the selected shape when your mouse hovers above a formatting option.

For more information on changing the size or color of shapes in Excel or PowerPoint, refer to Modifying Objects in Excel and Powerpoint. For more information on changing the size or color of shapes in Word, refer to Modifying Objects in Word. For more information on moving shapes, refer to Manipulating Objects.

Working with Text in Objects

Office 2007 allows you to add text to objects without creating a text box within an object.

Working with Text in Objects: Adding Text

NOTE: You cannot add text to shapes from the Lines or Connectors categories of the Shapes menu. 

  1. Word: Right click the shape » select Add Text.
    Excel and PowerPoint: Right click the shape » select Edit Text.
    NOTE: If you have already added text to this object, the Add Text option changes to Edit Text.

  2. Type the text.

  3. (Optional) To format the font and size of the text, from the Home command tab, use the commands in the Font group.

  4. (Optional) To format the color of the text, from the Home command tab, in the Font group, from the Font Color pull-down list font color, select a color.

  5. When you are done entering and formatting the text, click anywhere outside of the object.

Working with Text in Objects: Editing Text

You can always go back and edit text in an existing object.

  1. Select the object that contains the text you want to edit.

  2. Click within the text to begin working with the text.
    NOTE: Depending on the chosen shape, the I-beam may appear below the shape instead of within the text.

  3. Make the desired changes.

  4. When finished, to deselect the text, click outside the object.

Working with Text in Objects: Text-Fitting Options

You have several options available to customize the fit of your text within the object.

  1. Word: Right click the shape » select Format AutoShape...
    The Format AutoShape dialog box appears.
    Excel and PowerPoint: Right click the shape » select Format Shape... 
    The Format Shape dialog box appears. 

  2. Word: Select the Text Box tab.
    Excel and PowerPoint: From the Categories list, select Text Box

  3. Select the desired options.
    NOTE: Options and the appearance of the dialog box varies slightly between Office programs.

    Internal marginSpecify the distance between each edge of your shape and the text contained within it.Vertical AlignmentChanges the vertical placement of your text within the shape.Do not AutofitText scrolls to appear above and below your shape instead of fitting inside the shape (available only in Word and PowerPoint).Word wrap text in AutoShapeText appears on multiple lines to fit within your AutoShape optimally (available only in Word).Resize AutoShape to fit textResizes the AutoShape to optimally fit your text (available only in Word and PowerPoint).Convert to FrameChanges the your shape to a plain text box (available only in Word).Format CalloutWhen working with callouts (e.g., word bubbles), provides options for changing formatting (available only in Word).Text DirectionAllows you to select whether text runs horizontally, vertically, or is stacked within the shape (available only in Excel and PowerPoint).Shrink Text on OverflowAutomatically decreases the font size when the text inside a shape become too big to fit inside the object (available only in PowerPoint).ColumnsAllows you to specify the number of columns you would like the text to appear in within your shape (available only in Excel and PowerPoint).