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How to insert a picture into an excel cell

Updated February 21, 2017

Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet program that is part of the Microsoft Office suite. It is primarily an application for processing numbers and text with some options for including pictures. Although you can easily insert an image into spreadsheet pages, you cannot insert it into an individual cell. However, some workarounds exist to make the picture behave as though it were part of the cell.

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  1. Click on the cell in which you want to insert a picture. Enlarge the cell to the image width by mousing over the right edge of the column header and clicking and dragging the column wider. Do the same for the cell height by clicking and dragging on the bottom edge of the cell row.

  2. Choose the "Insert" menu and select "Picture From File" to display the Insert Picture dialogue. Browse to the file that you need and double-click it. The dialogue closes and the picture appears with its upper-left corner matching the upper-left corner of the cell.

  3. Resize the picture as needed by clicking on it to show the handle. Hold down the "Shift" key while dragging the bottom right corner in or out to match the cell size.

  4. Right-click on the picture and choose "Format Picture" from the context menu.

  5. Click the "Properties" tab and choose “Move but don’t size with cells.” Click the "OK" button to accept your settings. Your image now moves as though part of the cell.

  6. Insert the image into a comment as another way of anchoring the graphic to a specific location. The picture does not appear within the cell itself but rather in a popup near the cell. This method is thus not so useful for decorative art. However, it works well for parenthetical images that are helpful but may impede the flow of the spreadsheet. For example, if you have a column of house prices and a total, you can attach a comment picture of each house next to each price. That way, the pictures don't interrupt the column, but yet can pop up if the user wants to see what a home of a certain price looks like.

  7. To insert an image into a comment, right-click on the cell that you need and select “Insert Comment” from the context men. A small comment box appears.

  8. Right-click on any edge of the comment box and choose "Format Comment." If it has only the Font tab, try again until you see many tabs.

  9. Choose the Colors and Lines tab. Click the "Color" drop-down menu under Fill and choose "Fill Effects." Click the "Picture" tab and choose "Select Picture."

  10. Navigate to the image that you need and double-click it to insert it into the comment. Click the "OK" button to close the Fill Effects dialogue. Click the "OK" button again to close the Format Comment dialogue.

  11. Adjust the comment box as needed by clicking on it until the handles appear. Hold down the "Shift" key and click on a corner handle. While holding the mouse button down, drag the handle to resize the box until it accommodates the image.

  12. Tip

    For comments, the size of the image you can insert may be limited by your computer memory. In that case, use your favourite art program to resize both the dimensions and file size of the picture and try again.

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About the Author

Aurelio Locsin has been writing professionally since 1982. He published his first book in 1996 and is a frequent contributor to many online publications, specializing in consumer, business and technical topics. Locsin holds a Bachelor of Arts in scientific and technical communications from the University of Washington.

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