How to freeze charts, shapes, text boxes, and other objects in Excel

Excel 365
Numerous users face a problem when, after inserting, deleting, and resizing some cells on a spreadsheet, Excel changes the dimensions of a chart, the position of a shape or image, etc. Objects in Excel are positioned on the drawing layer that covers cells on a worksheet.

Moving, resizing, coping, and deleting objects on the drawing layer do not affect other worksheet elements. But, moving, resizing, coping, and deleting certain cells (related cells - located to the left, above, or covered by the object, even partially) in the worksheet affect the objects:

  • Objects, such as a picture, have a default setting that keeps the object's dimensions and simply moves the object if the cells above or to the left of its bottom right corner are resized:
    Default settings for moving and resizing in Excel 365
  • Other objects, such as a chart, are resized automatically after resizing, moving, or deleting any of the related cells:
    Default settings for moving and resizing 2 in Excel 365

To fix the object dimensions or freeze an object on the spreadsheet, do the following:

   1.   Right-click on the object, then select Format ***... in the popup menu (or double-click the object to open the Format *** pane).

*** varies depending on the object. For example:

  • Right-click on the picture or shape, then select the Format Picture... or Format Shape... in the popup menu:
    Format Picture in popup menu Excel 365   or   Format Shape in popup menu Excel 365
  • Right-click on the chart area, then select Format Chart Area... in the popup menu (or double-click the chart border):
    Format Chart Area in popup menu Excel 365

   2.   On the Format *** pane, in the Size & Properties group, in the Properties section, select the option you prefer:

Properties in Format Picture pane Excel 365   or   Properties in Format Chart Area pane Excel 365
  • Move and size with cells (selected by default for charts, shapes, SmartArt diagrams, and text boxes): If this option is selected, the object can be automatically resized and moved after changes of the related cells:
    • If you move, resize, add, or delete cells above or on the left of the object, it automatically moves,
    • If you move, resize, add, or delete cells behind or partially covered cells, the object automatically resizes.

    For example:

    • For a shape, picture, or text box: after resizing cells, it moves and resizes the shape:
      Move and size with cells for picture in Excel 365
    • For the chart on a spreadsheet (see how to create a chart on a separate spreadsheet):
      Properties for chart in Excel 365

      Adding a new column and resizing cells moves and resizes the chart:

      Move and size with cells for chart in Excel 365
  • Move but don't size with cells (selected by default for pictures): If this option is selected, the object moves automatically but does not change its size after moving, resizing, adding, or deleting related cells.

    For example:

    • For a shape, picture, or text box: resizing cells changes the object position but doesn't resize the shape:
      Move but don't size with cells for picture in Excel 365
    • For the chart: adding a new column on the left and resizing cells behind the chart moves the chart but doesn't change its dimensions:
      Move but don't size with cells for chart in Excel 365
  • Don't move or size with cells: This option makes the object completely independent of the cells and freezes the object on the spreadsheet.

    For example:

    • For a shape, picture, or text box: resizing cells doesn't change the object and its position on the spreadsheet:
      Don't move or size with cells for picture in Excel 365
    • For the chart: adding a new column on the left and resizing cells behind the chart doesn't change its position or dimensions:
      Don't move or size with cells for chart in Excel 365

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