Align and Layer Objects in Excel for Mac 2011

show more Aligning and layering objects provides you with in-depth training on Business. Taught by Curt Frye as part of the Excel for Mac 2011 Essential Training show less
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Aligning and layering objects

After you add photos, clip art, and shapes to your workbook, you'll need to rearrange those objects on the page. You can arrange objects by dragging them around, but you can arrange the objects more precisely by using some built-in Excel commands to align and distribute your images. You can select multiple objects in Excel by holding down the Shift key and clicking what you want to select. So, in this case, I will select all three of these images. I click the first one then hold down the Shift key, click the second, and then the third, and you notice that I have a selection outline along all three, and I can drag those images to the center.

Now, let's says that I want to align these images so that their vertical middles are aligned. In other words, I want the middle of this object to be in line with the middle of this subject and the middle of this object. To do that, I click the Format Picture contextual tab, after I've selected these three images, and then in the Arrange Group, I click the Align button. When I click that, I get a bunch of options, and the one that I want is Align Middle. You can see here, right next to the Align Middle option, you see a little visual illustration of what it will look like when you're done.

So, I'll click Align Middle and Excel squares these things up. I'd align them by hand earlier, but now it's exact. Now, let's say that I want to align them at the bottom. To do that, click Align again > Align Bottom, and there you have it. You can also align along the top. Now, I am going to release the selection and move the images around, and I'll just work with these two for now. Let's say that I want to align them so that their left edges are in line. Well, I do is I'll select both of them at the same time, again holding down the Shift key and clicking objects after the first.

Click the Align button and click Align Left, and when I do, Excel lines up the two images. Now, I am going to press Command+Z so that I can show how that works. So, I have two images selected, and I am aligning to the left. What Excel does is it takes the left most of the images, in this case the bottles here on top, and it aligns the second image to it. Whichever one is the farthest along in the direction that you want to align, that is the one Excel uses as its base. So if I click Align Left, they align to the left, and the two images are different sizes, so I can align to the right, and you see that the bottom one moved because the right edge was further to the right than this image's right edge.

You can also distribute items within a workbook, so I'll release my selection, and I'll put these two images very close together and this one far away. Then I'll hold down the Shift key to select these other two images. Distributing images leaves the leftmost and rightmost or top and bottom images in place, and it moves the bottom image so that there is an equal distance between the three images. In other words, there will be two gaps, and those gaps will be exactly the same size. To do that, you click the images, click Format Picture, Align and then Distribute Horizontally.

So, Excel centered up the middle image between those two. The same thing works vertically, and I will clear the selection and move these things around. But this time instead of having them in the strict vertical line, I'll move this one down a little so that the change is more visual. To align vertically, the images don't have to be right on top of each other, and to align horizontally they don't have to be right next to each other either. All you're doing is making the alignment a little bit more precise. So for here I will hold down the Shift key, click these two images, and then click Distribute Vertically and Excel moves this image.

If I clicked Distribute Horizontally, then Excel would move that image. So, now we have an equal gap left and right and top and bottom. The last thing I want to show you is how images are layered within Excel. In other words, these three images right now look like they're all in the same layer, but in fact they're not. I added them one at a time, and Excel put them in that order. So, I'll click here away from one image, and I will drag the bottles image over to the logo.

You'll see that the bottles are now in front of the logo. If I want to move the logo in front of the bottles, or any image in front of any other image, I can click it, and then - once again, we are still on the Format Picture contextual tab - I can click Reorder and then for the image that I have selected, I can either bring it to the front, send it all the way to the back, bring it forward one level, or send it backward. So, bringing the Two Trees Olive Oil image forward puts it in front of the bottles.

If I want to bring the bottles in front of the logo, I can click it, Reorder, and I can either click Bring Forward to bring it up one step, or I can bring it all the way to the front by clicking Bring to Front. The techniques I've shown you in this movie will help you arrange your images precisely, letting you focus on creating great documents instead of struggling to align and layer the images by hand.

Aligning and layering objects
Video duration: 5m 6s 6h 32m Beginner


Aligning and layering objects provides you with in-depth training on Business. Taught by Curt Frye as part of the Excel for Mac 2011 Essential Training

Excel for Mac
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