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How to create a shape link to a cell in Excel – Quick tip

Create a shape link to a cell in Excel

In Excel, we will create a shape link to a cell. Meaning, we will put the value of a cell inside a shape. And, when you update that cell, the value within that shape is updated.

After you establish a link, that ordinary shape turns into a dynamic floating shape. Good stuff, huh!

For the purpose of this quick tip, you will need Excel 2007 or higher or compatible.

How to create a shape link to a cell

Excel data for shape link

As shown in the above image, we have a spreadsheet that contains sales and rank data for three states. So, what we want to do is create a shape link that will display the rank for Nevada.

Follow the steps below to create a shape link to a cell in Excel.

Insert the shape

Insert a shape
  1. From the main menu, click Insert, which will show the Insert ribbon.
  2. Under the Illustration group, click Shapes. This will open the Shapes pull down menu.
    Note: The Shapes option may be under a different group on the Insert ribbon on your computer.
  3. Select a shape to insert. We chose the Oval from the Basic Shapes group.
Shape inside of Excel
  1. Click somewhere on the sheet and your shape will show on the sheet.

Create the link

Create the link
  1. Click on the shape you just inserted.
  2. Click inside the formula toolbar and type =. Only type the equal sign.
  3. Select the cell you want to link and press Enter.


Success. Your shape is now linked to a cell

There you have it! A shape linked to a cell.

Additionally, we applied formatting to our shape. And, you can do the same thing. For the most part, you can format a shape link in the same fashion as a regular shape.

If you had an issue performing this task, then try going through the steps again. Sometimes, people get stuck on step 2 of Create a link. Therefore, what you can do is just select the shape and type in the entire link directly, and press Enter.

Remember, if the value of the cell changes

I guess you are wondering, what can I do with this? Well, many things.

Example of using a shape link to a cell

Below is an example of what you can do with a shape link in Excel.

Example of using a shape link to a cell

Again, good stuff, huh! Enjoy doing some fun stuff with this new knowledge.

Additional resources

Create a shape link to a cell in Excel
by Excel Effects :: October 20, 2020


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