Draw tools are greyed out

Copper Contributor

I enabled the draw tools tab for my PC Excel 2016, but the tools are all greyed out.

20 Replies

Draw tools (along with many others) are disabled on protected sheets.  Try unprotecting the sheet.

I can’t check that at the moment, but I think you’ve solved it for me.  The sheet isn’t protected but it is in xlsm format.  I bet that’s the problem.


Many thanks.

Further to my previous post, the problem occurred on worksheets that used the "Freeze Panes/Rows" option.  Nothing to do with the xlsm format after all.  I unfroze a top row and the "Draw" items lit up.

I was having a similar issue and ur figuring out that it was due to "freeze frame" resolved it for me too. So thanks. Thumbs up to the Community. You guys do a far far better job than Microsoft Support. My attempt to use them earlier to resolve this issue was an exercise in futility. 

I must say I’ve not had much luck with the “official” experts in any field. The clever guys are busy elsewhere, I suppose, and customer service is left to the erks. 


The problem with The Community, is that some people will do no more than quote “solutions” they’ve read somewhere, and clearly haven’t actually tried them.  So we have to rely on the occasional gems.

Hi, all. New to the forums. Late to the party. I want to say thanks for leading me in the right direction for this, and I would like to add that my particular problem was that I was in View>Page Layout. Draw Tool seem to only work in View>Normal or View>Page Break Preview. Warmest Regards

@Digcoal Cheers for the heads up on this! It has been driving me nuts with draw being greyed out in Word. Changing the "view" from "web layout" which is where it defaulted to "Print Layout" enabled the draw tools.

@acs42  They are greyed out in print layout view. A change to Normal view enables draw tools.

@jcraok , same thing with me too. I changed the document view to "page layout" and got my pens back! 

@Adrian Long i was able to draw in excel but saving the doc does not retain the drawing.  any suggestions?


Unfortunately, I don't have any suggestions, @jprugh. I'm not sure if I've experienced that.    

@jprugh  In my Excel for Mac v16.39, I can use the pens to draw, save the doc, and the drawing is retained.   Tried this by drawing across cells and drawing over a chart I inserted, and in both cases the drawing was retained.  So, can't help. Sorry.

Thank you for your feedback. I had the same issue on my SP7 with the official Microsoft Pen. The solution worked for me. As mentioned, the Draw Tool only works in certain View layouts.

On the toolbar, click the View tab, and then Print Layout. Return to the Draw tab, and it should no longer be grayed-out. 





I'm new to this, so I'm not sure I'm replying to the right person.  This fix did not work for me.  Any other suggestions?


@acs42 where is the Freeze Panes/Rows option

Worked for me. Had to change from "page layout" to "Normal"