How to Draw a Line in Excel

Excel isn’t all figures and statistics in black and white, you know. An Excel sheet can be as colourful and creative as any other, with pie charts, bar charts, graphs and illustrations, you can even draw lines in Excel, in order to highlight points, connect two pieces of data, or instruct the viewer. 

To learn how to draw a line in Excel, simply follow our step-by-step tutorial below. For all other information on the subject, or if you have any other questions you’d like answered, we suggest you direct your attention to the FAQ section of this article, located at the end.

How to draw and edit a line in Excel

  1. Open the Excel app on your desktop device, and load a document (blank or otherwise) on which you can test the following processes
  2. From the menu bar along the top, navigate to ‘Insert’
  3. Locate ‘Illustrations’ and click on this button
  4. From the drop-down menu, select ‘Shapes’
  5. From the Shapes menu, you’ll see a range of all of the types of shapes you can draw; under ‘Lines’ select the type of line you’d like to insert into your document (this can range from a simple line, to an arrow, or even a squiggly line). Click on your chosen line.
  6. Once you’ve chosen which line you want to draw, begin drawing by clicking anywhere on the document and dragging the line out. You’ll see it form as you drag your mouse/trackpad. To finish drawing the line, simply let go of the click when satisfied
  7. You can now edit the line:
    1. To edit the length of the line, click and drag either of the white circles located at both terminuses of the line
    2. To edit the position of the line, hover your cursor over it until the omni-directional cursor appears, then click, drag, and drop your line into position
    3. To edit the thickness of the line, click ‘Shape Outline’ from the toolbar along the top of the screen, then click ‘Weight’ and choose an appropriate line thickness from the menu

    4. To edit the form of the line, click ‘Shape Outline’, then ‘Sketched’, ‘Dashes’, or ‘Arrows’ and choose the appropriate form you wish the line to take
    5. To edit the colour of the line, click ‘Shape Outline’ and then select your desired colour
    6. To give your line a shadow, glow, or some other effect to make it better stand out from the rest of the document, click ‘Shape Effects’, then select your desired effect, and follow the pull-out menu to select the best variation of that effect to suit your needs

And there you have it! All you need to know about drawing a line on an Excel document is contained there, in the tutorial provided above. Should you still have any unanswered questions, or if you’d simply like a little more insight into the subject, we highly recommend you check out our FAQs below.

Frequently asked questions

Why would I want to draw a line in Excel?

Excel is the industry-standard programme used for creating and editing spreadsheets, crucially important to the smooth operation of many jobs, including those in accountancy, finance, HR, marketing, sales, and more. Excel allows its users to draw up any number of sheets within a document, input data into cells arranged by columns and rows, and have the programme conduct complex calculations so as to quickly assist the user in their work.

One of the elements available to the Excel user with which you might not be so familiar is the ability to draw shapes, pictures, icons and 3D images, including of course: a line. Not typically associated with data manipulation, you might be wondering exactly why you’d want to draw a line on an Excel document, but the fact is that there are as many useful applications of a line as there are of any calculation Excel can perform.

Whether you’re formatting your spreadsheet to present at a company meeting, sales conference, or to your boss, the inclusion of lines can aid in showing the relationships between various elements of the data present in your document. With an easily recognisable, bold and colourful shape, such as a line, you can alert anyone’s attention to the fact that two pieces of data are connected.

Similarly, you can bolster the information told through a bar graph, say, with the inclusion of a line to help the reader see in which direction they should read said information. Perhaps you wish only to separate two or more sections of your document; a line is a perfect way to do so! 

You see, there are infinite useful applications for line drawings in Excel, which is exactly why we’re here to show you how to draw them. Simply follow our step-by-step guides above!

Can I edit or alter the line after I’ve drawn it in Excel?

Yes, absolutely. No need to fret if you’ve drawn your line inaccurately, you can always go back and reshape it, reposition it, and even alter its properties. From making it thicker or thinner to emboldening it and editing its colour, or giving it a drop-shadow, there are near limitless tools for you to use in the alteration of your Excel line.

Can I delete an accidentally drawn line in Excel?

Of course! Simply click on the line in question and press DELETE on your keyboard. Alternatively, right-click on the offending line and from the pop-up menu select the ‘Delete’ option. If you accidentally delete a line in this fashion, simply press the ‘undo’ backwards arrow located in the toolbar, or press CTRL + Z on your keyboard to undo the accidental deletion.