Add Pizzaz To Arrows And Pointers In Excel Spreadsheets


When I do a presentation that includes spreadsheets, I usually use arrows to illustrate the relationship between numbers, and while it works OK, it lacks pizazz. Is there some way I can add more impact to my spreadsheets?

There are lots of things you can do—such as adding color, size and shape. Let’s look at the options. If you’re using Excel 2007, click on Insert and then on Shapes, which produces this menu:

Once you click on a shape, the Home Ribbon switches to Format and, depending on which shape you select, that menu automatically adjusts to the special options for your selection (see screenshot below).

Not only do you have many choices, but each shape is easily adjustable, for example, by grabbing its edge with your cursor and reshaping it, say, from…

this... this.

In Excel 2003, however, you have fewer options and the customization steps are not as convenient. Begin by clicking on View, Toolbars, Drawing and then go to the bottom of the screen and either click on the simple arrow in the toolbar or click on AutoShapes, and then Lines if you want still more choices…

…or Block Arrows if you want an arrow that you can make a bit fancier…

and click on your selection. Now move your cursor to where you want it to appear in the worksheet and click. If you choose Block Arrows, you can customize some of the choices by clicking and dragging, for example:

from this... this.

Now, to gussy it up further, go to the toolbar on the top of the screen and click on Format, AutoShape and this screen will appear:

Make sure the Colors and Lines tab is selected, and now you can customize both the arrow line and arrowhead. You also can choose whether and how much you want the arrow image to be transparent so the data below can show through.


Year-end tax planning and what’s new for 2016

Practitioners need to consider several tax planning opportunities to review with their clients before the end of the year. This report offers strategies for individuals and businesses, as well as recent federal tax law changes affecting this year’s tax returns.


News quiz: Retirement planning, tax practice, and fraud risk

Recent reports focused on a survey that gauges the worries about retirement among CPA financial planners’ clients, a suit that affects tax practitioners, and a guide that offers advice on fraud risk. See how much you know with this short quiz.


Bolster your data defenses

As you weather the dog days of summer, it’s a good time to make sure your cybersecurity structure can stand up to the heat of external and internal threats. Here are six steps to help shore up your systems.