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# Shadows on Charts and Cells in Excel 2007

Today’s author, Helen Hosein, a Program Manager on the Excel team.

An Example – Shadows in Excel 2003 vs Shadows in Excel 2007

Two of my very good friends, Rita and Alfie, are thinking of moving to London soon. Man, I’ll miss them. They’re shopping around for “flats” (they’re already learning the lingo) but aren’t sure which neighborhoods to consider. Rita, being web savvy, decides to download some of the 2005 rent data from the Greater London Authority and make an Excel chart so she and Alfie can gauge the relative prices.

Rita copy/pastes the average rent for a studio in each borough into Excel 2003. She also adds the overall average rent for comparison. To make the overall average stand out, she adds a Cell Shadow to that row.

Excel draws a rectangle shape around the selection and adds a shadow to it, giving that row a great effect that draws attention.

Now Rita adds her chart of the rents. She likes gray, so she makes the whole chart background that color. Since the shadow looks so good on the summary, she adds a matching shadow to my Chart Title, and sets the Area fill to None so that the chart area color shows through.

Once she’s done, Rita sends me the workbook to get my opinion. After all, I’m her best friend, and I’m hoping to visit her soon in her new neighborhood. I open her workbook in Excel 2007.

Wow! Do you see what I see? Rent in the City of London is really high. The second thing I notice, however, is that the shadows Rita put on “All Boroughs” and on the Chart Title are not quite what Rita might have intended. The good news is that these can be fixed in no time.

Chart element shadows in Excel 2007

Remember, when Rita added the shadows to the Chart Title and the Legend, she also set the Area fill to None. Excel 2007 sees these chart elements as empty rectangle frames, since they have no fill. Because of that, the shadows on them look just like a second empty rectangle. The quick, easy fix is just to give them a fill.

Step 1: Right-click on the Chart Title and choose Format Chart Title.

Step 2: On the Fill tab of the Format Chart Title dialog, choose Solid fill.

Step 3: Choose the same color fill as the background (in my case, the same shade of gray that Rita’s always on about).

Now the Chart Title looks the same as it did in Excel 2003, and it still blends with the Chart Area because I gave it the same fill. I could also have done that by using the Shape Fill menu on the Format tab under Chart Tools on the Ribbon.

Now the shadows on the chart are fixed, but the cell shadow still doesn’t look the way it used to. Fortunately, one of our testers, Jon Adams, wrote a convenient add-in that helps solve this problem. Jon’s add-in gives a great example of how you can use VBA to create your own cell shadows. You can download Jon’s by clicking the attachment at the bottom of this post. Here’s how you install the add-in.

Step 1: Click on the Office button and choose Excel Options.

Step 2: On the left, choose Add-Ins, and under Manage: choose Excel Add-Ins and click Go…

Step 4: Now Cellshadows will appear in your list of Add-Ins with a check mark next to it. Click Ok.

Just like that, Rita’s cell shadow is fixed.