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How to draw or scribble in Excel?

Author: Amanda Li Last Modified: 2022-10-17

Excel 2019 and newer versions including Office 365 allow you to draw and write with ink in an Excel worksheet. Before you do it, please check if there is a Draw tab in the ribbon. If not, please follow the first instruction listed in this article to add it to your Excel ribbon. If you already have the Draw tab, please jump to the following instructions.

Add Draw tab to the ribbon in Excel

1. In your Excel, right-click on the ribbon, and select Customize the Ribbon from the menu.

2. In the Main Tabs group on the right side of the Excel Options window, tick the box next to Draw.

3. Click OK. Now you are good to draw or scribble in Excel.

Draw or scribble in Excel worksheets

On the Draw tab, you will see multiple pen options, including the regular ones: pens, pencils, highlighters; and an Action Pen. In this section, we will talk about how to draw or scribble with the regular ones.

Note: The available pens and colors could vary in different Excel verisons.

1. Select a pen draw with (note that the first is an eraser). Also, you can tap the pen you picked again to open the options menu to select your preferred thickness and color for the pen.

2. Now, you can draw or scribble with the selected pen.

3. If you need to erase previously drawn ink, you can select the Eraser first, and then click on the ink. If there are many, you can use the Lasso Select tool to select all the items you need to remove, and then press Delete. See the demo below.

Convert ink drawings to shapes or math texts

To convert ink drawings to shapes, you should draw shapes with a pen, use the Lasso Select tool to select the shapes you want to convert, and then click on the Ink to Shape button. See the demo below:

Note: If you draw a shape that Excel cannot recognize, the shape will not be converted.

To convert ink drawings to math texts, you should click on the Ink to Math button on the ribbon first. And then write your equation or other math texts on the yellow canvas as shown below.

Note: With the Select and Correct option, if you find that a part of the math equation you write is not showing properly in the preview box, you can select the wrong part and then replace it with the correct one in the drop-down list.

Use Action Pen to edit a cell

In some Excel versions, the Draw tab also provides an Action Pen, with which you can handwrite directly in the cells so that your ink can be converted to Excel data automatically. To do so, please follow the steps below.

1. Click the Action Pen button on the Draw tab.

2. Handwrite directly on any of the cells. The handwriting will then be translated into data in that cell. You can write numbers, texts, and regular symbols.

  1. The magnification will automatically set to 400% once you clicked the Action Pen.
  2. If a cell already has content, you can overwrite to replace it with new content.
  3. To delete a cell content, you can draw a strike-through or scribble on the cell as shown below.
  4. To select a cell, you can draw a circle around the cell.

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