Graphical elements can overlap when they are placed over the cell grid area. Conceptually, each graphical element occupies one layer in a stack of all the elements. By default, elements which have been created more recently will overlap in front of elements which were created earlier.
The order of each element in the stack can be changed using the four menu items in the context menu. The Top will bring the selected element in front of all the other objects. The Up menu item will bring the selected element forward one layer. Conversely, the Down menu item will move the selected element one layer towards the back, and the Bottom menu item will palace the selected element at the very back of the stack of elements. Jointly, these menu items allow the user to specify exactly which order in which the graphical elements should appear.
The stacking of graphical elements in Gnumeric is currently not working correctly. Widget elements are always placed above the other elements and do not honor the same ordering scheme as the rest of the elements. A large amount of work will be required to fix this and a decision has been made to ignore this problem until the developers have the time to fix this problem correctly.