How to Make Text Over Images With Microsoft Excel

By C.D. Crowder

Images can make your Microsoft Excel spreadsheets more attractive. Backgrounds are often used to show a business logo or a template. Clip art and drawn images help illustrate points or draw attention to certain parts of your spreadsheet. To use images in your spreadsheet, you need to make the text appear over images. This allows users to read Excel data, while still seeing your images. Most images have transparency settings that allow you to view the text behind them.

Clip Art and Pictures

Step 1

Add a clip art image or picture to your spreadsheet. Go to "Insert" and choose "Picture." Select "Clip Art," "From File" or "From Scanner or Camera." Select your image to insert it into the spreadsheet. Place the image in your desired location. Note that if you want to set transparency options on images from your computer, scanner or camera, they must be bitmap images. These images have a .bmp extension.

Step 2

Right-click the image and select "Show Picture Toolbar." If the toolbar is already shown, you'll only see an option to "Hide Picture Toolbar."

Step 3

Click the "Set Transparent Color" button on the picture toolbar.

Step 4

Click the color on your image you wish to make transparent. Only the text behind the color you choose will be transparent.

Step 5

If transparency settings aren't available or you need more than one color to be transparent, add a transparent text box over your image. Select "Text Box" from the Drawing toolbar. Go to "View" and select "Drawing" to view the toolbar. Draw a text box over your image. Type in your desired text. Right-click the text box and select "Format AutoShape." Select "Colors and Lines." Set the "Transparency" to 100 percent. Press "OK." Your text will be visible over the image, but the text box itself will not be seen.

Drawing Images

Step 1

Draw an image on your spreadsheet. Drawn images are created using tools from the "Drawing" toolbar. Go to "View" and select "Drawing" to view drawing tools.

Step 2

Right-click the image and choose "Format AutoShape."

Step 3

Select the "Color and Lines" tab. Locate the "Transparency" slider. Slide the transparency bar to at least 50 percent. You can also type the transparency in the box beside the slider. Press "OK" to set the transparency. If you need the object to be lighter or darker, repeat the process.

Tips & Warnings

  • Setting the transparency of a clip art image only works with some clip art images, not all.
  • When using text boxes, line up your image and text box so the text box appears where the covered data is located.
  • Don't delete information hidden behind images. Even though you type it in a text box, the original information needs to remain in place for calculations.