Tag Archives: image

excel vba camera tool

Excel Camera Tool – create an Image snapshot in Excel

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Did you know you can use Excel to Image snapshots of your Excel spreadsheets ? Sure you can. What is more you can use this feature directly from VBA to achieve some impressive feats. Today we will learn how to use the Excel Camera Tool!

Excel Camera Tool

excel camera tool
Using the Excel Camera Tool
Let us start with exploring how to use the built-in Excel Camera Tool. The Excel Camera Tool is a button that let’s you create an image snapshot of any region of your Excel spreadsheet.

To use the Excel Camera Tool all you need to do is:

  1. Select an Excel Range

  2. Click on the Camera Tool Icon

  3. Click on any place in your Excel Worksheet

Add Excel Camera Tool Icon

Adding the Excel Camera Tool to your Quick Access Toolbar is easy. Just follow the steps below:

Select the Customize Quick Access Toolbar icon

Click on the arrow show the Quick Access Toolbar menu.
add excel camera tool
Next click More commands.

Browser Commands not in the toolbar

From the Choose commands from: menu select Commands not in the toolbar.
add excel camera tool
Now you should see an item called Camera in the list of Commands.

Add the Camera Tool

Now select Camera and hit the Add button to add the Camera tool to your Quick Access Toolbar.
add excel camera tool
Now you should see the Excel Camera Tool Icon in your Quick Access Toolbar:
excel camera tool.

Use Excel Camera Tool in VBA

The Camera Tool is very useful in your everyday work when you need to copy part of your Workbook as an Image i.e. send an image snapshot of an Excel Worksheet or Chart. Fortunately there is also an easy way to use it in VBA:

An example of how the macro works below:
excel camera vba
Nice huh? Well this is the beginning of things you can do. There are lot of cool ideas you can use this feature to:

  • Send image snapshot of Excel Worksheet via Email
  • Save Excel Workbook as static image – replace each Worksheet with a static Image to protect your formulas and calculations
excel pictograph featured

Excel Pictograph – Charts with Pictures

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Today something much lighter than usual, more to do with presenting data than just crunching itHow to Create an Excel Pictograph? Or, in other simpler words, How to Create an Excel Chart with Images!

Images are Powerful Stuff! Our Brain processes Images 60 Thousand Times Faster than Text! For us Consultants, Marketers and Office Clerks this is important to understand, although often neglected. Hence the term Death by PowerPoint, known also as Death By Slideas in overwhelming your audience with an abundance of text and information squeezed into a single slide.

If you want to get Your Message across use Pictures instead. Today I will show you a simple, but effective Excel Trick you can use to make the most out of your Data Visualizations – to transform Dull Charts into Impressive Infographics.

How to Create an Excel Pictograph?

example excel pictographLet’s start with the Basics. An Excel Pictograph is a Chart that replaces standard Bars, Pies and other Graphic Elements with Pictures. Creating Excel Pictographs is incredibly easy, hence making it an incredibly Powerful Excel Tip / Trick.

Create an Excel Chart

To create an Excel Pictograph we need to have a Chart to work on first. If you are new to Excel Charts feel free to listen to Chandoo’s Excel Chart Tutorial here. I created a simple Chart below:

Simple Boring Excel Chart
Simple Boring Excel Chart

Find an Image Icon for the Chart

The Chart above is Boring. Isn’t it? Just Raw Data. It takes a moment to take it in. Now let’s find an interesting image to replace the Boring Barchart! Here are some great resources I use to find Image Icons:

  1. IconFinder a great database of Free and Premium Image Icons. I really appreciate the large amount of free images they have you don’t need to link back to

  2. Icon Archive a clipart image database

  3. Icon Finder yet another icon database

Be sure to find an Icon that will suitably visual the data you are trying to exemplify.

Paste the Image to your Excel Spreadsheet

past image to excelNow copy your image to your Excel Worksheet. To do that go to the INSERT Ribbon Excel tab. Select Pictures if you have the Image on your workstation, or Online Pictures if you need to download the Image from the Web. Follow the steps and hit Insert.

Copy & Paste the Image onto your Chart

This is the important part:
past image to excel chart

  1. Copy the Image by clicking on it and hitting CTRL+C

  2. Select the Data Visual select your Charts Bars, Pie slices or any other Data Visual Element which you want to replace with an Image

  3. Paste the Image by hitting CTRL+V

Configure the Image

The Chart is starting to look good. But often stretching the Image distorts it. We need to replace the Stretch with either the Stack or Stack and Scale with options:
excel pictograph configure image settings

  1. Go to Data Series options by right clicking on the Bars and clicking Format Data Series...

  2. Go to Fill Options and select Stretch, Stack or Stack and Stretch with. That last options requires you specify the Units/Pictures ration. In our case 1000$ should equal to 1 picture, so I input 1000

Too make the Image look even better, you may also want to go to SERIES OPTIONS and adjust the Gap Width!
The Final Effect looks more like this:
final excel pictograph

vba image

Add an Image from VBA in Excel

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Images are what enriches our content, visualizing data enables us to compare results, notice patterns and provide insights. Most Excel files are bereft of any images, presenting raw data supported by boring charts. Dashboard often could use a couple of images here and there to visual a metric or trend. Today shortly on how to dynamically create, embed and delete images from your Excel Workbooks by using only VBA.

We will start by introducing the Shapes AddPicture function:

Shapes.AddPicture function


Shapes.AddPicture( _
           Filename, LinkToFile, SaveWithDocument, _
           Left, Top, Width, Height)


File or URL of the picture to add.

Use MsoTrue or MsoCTrue by default. Full list here.

Use MsoTrue or MsoCTrue by default. Full list here.

Position (in points) of the upper-left corner of the picture relative to the left corner of the document.

Position (in points) of the upper-left corner of the picture relative to the top corner of the document.

Width of the picture in points.

Height of the picture in points.

Add an Image from VBA using a file

Let’s start with a simple example. Say we want to embed an image into our Excel Worksheet as such:
image from vba
To simply embed an image from a file we need to add a new Shape using the AddPicture function:

Call ActiveSheet.Shapes.AddPicture("C:\Users\User\Desktop\facebook.bmp", _
     msoCTrue, msoCTrue, 0, 0, 100, 100)

This will add the image “facebook.bmp” to the upper-top corner of our spreadsheet. The size of the image will be 100×100 points.

Add an Image from VBA from an URL

Similarly we can add the image using an URL of the current weather conditions in the US:

Current weather in US: Image loaded from URL
Current weather in US: Image loaded from URL

Call ActiveSheet.Shapes.AddPicture( _
     "https://i.imwx.com/images/maps/current/curwx_600x405.jpg", _
     msoCTrue, _
     msoCTrue, _
     0, 0, 600, 405)

This will load the image from the URL. Can take a couple of seconds to complete. Awesome right?

Now with this you can do cool things. Why not upload your project status/dashboard on a webpage and simply refresh it using VBA?

Deleting / Replacing images using VBA

Often you will want to replace an existing image or remove one. Not as obvious as it seems, you can’t replace an existing image – instead need to delete and recreate using a new picture.

Delete an image from VBA

Just deleting an image can be done like this – based on it’s index:


Or like this if you need to obtain the Shape by name:

ActiveSheet.Shapes("Picture 1").Delete

Replacing images using VBA

Now let’s see what’s the correct way to replace an image (of similar sizes and location):

fileName = "C:\NewImage.bmp"

'Collect the location and size of the image
Dim shHeight As Long, shWidth As Long, shTop As Long, shLeft As Long
Dim s as Shape, ws as Worksheet
Set ws = ActiveSheet
Set s = ws.Shapes("Picture 1")
shHeight = ws.Height: shWidth = ws.Width: shTop = ws.Top: shLeft = ws.Left
'Delete the image

'Recreate the image using same location and size
ws.Shapes.AddPicture(fileName, msoCTrue, msoCTrue, shLeft, shTop, shWidth, shHeight)