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Excel: Save a worksheet as an image file

June 29, 2011

You can save an Excel worksheet to several formats, but, surprisingly, you cannot save it — or a selection from it — as an image. I would have thought this simple function would have been an option in Excel 2007 or 2010, but it’s not.

Saving to PDF (and then to an image format) is an option if the worksheet is not particularly wide, but as soon as the worksheet stretches over more than one page, PDF is not suitable unless you want to cobble together several PDF files to make one image.

After trying several methods and searching the internet, I figured out the best way to do it; this method works in Excel 2003, 2007, and 2010:

  1. Select the worksheet cells containing the data, chart, etc. you want to save as an image (turn off grid lines if you don’t want them too).
  2. Copy the selection to the clipboard (Ctrl+C).
  3. Open a graphics editor. My personal preference is SnagIt, but Microsoft Paint works just as well.
  4. Paste the selection into your graphics editor (Ctrl+V).
  5. Save the pasted image as a GIF (suitable for simple line drawings), JPG (suitable for photos only), or PNG (suitable for almost anything).

From my internet searching, it sounds like this is something many people want to do, so it would be good if Microsoft could offer a ‘save as image’ option from Excel.

Aside: Some wit on the internet had this to say about how to save an Excel worksheet as an image:

Take a photograph using your phone, send it to your home email,  then sketch an artist’s impression of said Excel sheet based on the photo content, scan that into your hard drive, send back to work and save it.

Another had this method:

  1. Stick a sheet of tracing paper to your monitor.
  2. Then make a brass rubbing of the Excel table.
  3. Remove the tracing paper and pour plaster of paris over the top.
  4. Cover in spray mount and glitter.
  5. Shake off the excess and voila!

[Link last checked June 2011]

12 comments

  1. You can use the Camera function in excel to get an image file of your document. You need to add the camera icon to the quick launch toolbar, as it does not exist on the ribbon.
    It then can take a linked image of any part of your spreadsheet which you can copy and paste to anywhere.


  2. Thanks Naomi — I didn’t know that!

    –Rhonda


  3. Hi
    Easiest way is to use the snipping tool. Have your sheet so it shows entirely on the one screen. Open up the snipping tool and away you go. Very easy and you can save in different file types


  4. Thank you. I’ve never known how to take a picture of something that is bigger than the screen before… this works and maintains high graphics resolution!

    Cheers,


  5. […] also didn’t test capturing the Excel data as an image as the authors needed to be able to change it once it was in […]


  6. For those who wish to try to Camera icon (see Naomi’s comment from January 2012), here are some helpful websites on putting it on the Quick Access Toolbar and using it:

    http://blogs.mccombs.utexas.edu/the-most/2009/09/30/use-the-camera-tool-in-excel/

    http://projectwoman.com/2007/04/snap-an-excel-range-2.html

    –Rhonda


  7. […] insert it as an image (Note: you can’t modify it in Word once inserted); instructions are here: http://cybertext.wordpress.com/2011/06/29/excel-save-a-worksheet-as-an-image-file/ […]


  8. common, just use printscreen button :P


  9. I have tried to copy and paste my excel sheet into paint but it shrinks it, if I try to resize it then it becomes blurry. How do I get it to paste the full size?


  10. You are a genius, and I thank you.


  11. Thank you guys, the camera tip did work perfectly. I’m grateful to your all for sharing your ideas on this. Una well done!



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