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February 23, 2017
 
Greetings from The Excel Addict

Hi fellow Excel Addict,

T
oday's 'Excel in Minutes' tip will show you how to do something you may not have thought possible with Excel. I'm going to show you how to 'Create a Linked Picture of a Range of Cells'. This one is really cool.

And if you missed my 'Excel in Seconds' newsletter on Tuesday, I showed how to 'Turn Off AutoRecover For Individual Workbooks'. You can read that tip here.

I hope you'll have a great weekend and keep on Excelling,

Keep on
Excelling,
Francis Hayes (The Excel Addict)
Email:  fhayes[AT]TheExcelAddict.com


 


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"Start by doing what’s necessary;
then do what’s possible;
and suddenly you are doing the impossible."

-- St. Francis of Assisi --
 
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Excel in Minutes with TheExcelAddict.com

Create a Linked Picture of a Range of Cells

One of the almost-magical features of Excel that few users have discovered is 'linked pictures'. Yes, you can paste a 'live' picture of a range of cells from one part of a worksheet into another sheet or even into another workbook. Can you just imagine all the cool new ways you can use this?

There are a couple of ways you can do this:

Option 1: Paste Linked Picture

1) Select the cells you want to capture an image of and click Copy (CTRL+C);

2) Then select the cell where you want to paste the picture link and, (a) from the Home tab, click the small arrow below Paste and click the Linked Picture button, or (b) right-click the cell where you want to paste the image, point to Paste Special..., then click the Linked Picture button;

Paste Linked Picture Command in Microsoft Excel 2007 2010 2013 2016 365

Option 2: Using the Camera Tool
 
Maybe you have never seen Excel's Camera tool. That's because it's nowhere to be found on the Ribbon. To be able to use it you will have to add it to your Quick Access Toolbar (QAT).


Add the Camera tool to your Quick Access Toolbar

1) Right click on the QAT and select Customize Quick Access Toolbar;

2) From the first dropdown in the Excel Options dialog select Commands Not in the Ribbon;

3) Scroll down and find Camera in the list and select it;

4) Click the Add>> button to add it to the QAT tools on the right;

5) Use the Move Up and Move Down arrow buttons on the right side to reposition the Camera tool on the QAT where you want it. Up moves it left on the QAT and Down moves it right;

6) Click OK to close the Excel Options dialog.

Add Camera To Quick Access Toolbar in Microsoft Excel 2007 2010 2013 2016 365

How to capture a linked picture of a range of cells using the Camera

1) Select a cell or range you want to capture;

2) Click the Camera tool on the QAT. You'll notice that your mouse pointer changes to a crosshair;

3) At this point, wherever you point to and click is where the top left corner of the picture will be pasted. You can paste the picture into the same sheet, another sheet or another workbook. Since the captured image has been copied to the Windows clipboard, you can even paste it to other applications such as an image editing program or even your email. (Note: Using regular Copy and Paste allows you to paste images of Excel ranges to other applications as well).

Capture Live Image With Camera Tool in Microsoft Excel 2007 2010 2013 2016 365
Once you have pasted the picture, you can then click and drag to reposition it anywhere on the sheet and resize it if you like. You can even add picture formatting such as a shadows, borders, etc...

Apply formatting to linked picture in Microsoft Excel 2007 2010 2013 2016 365
Notice that when the picture is selected, a reference formula is shown in the Formula Bar. Since this is a 'linked' picture, it will automatically update to reflect any changes made in that referenced range.

Are you starting to get some new ideas for using this?

If you want to change a linked picture to a static 'snapshot', select the image and delete its reference in the formula bar. This will
convert the 'live' picture to a static one.

Break Picture Link With Range in Microsoft Excel 2007 2010 2013 2016 365
Alternatively you can paste a static image by using the Picture button rather than the Linked Picture button.

Paste Picture in Microsoft Excel 2007 2010 2013 2016 365


Here are a few things you should keep in mind when using linked pictures

  • You may experience poor picture quality with some linked images
  • When you paste a picture of a range with cells whose background is set to 'No Fill', the picture pasted using the Camera tool will show a white background for those cells, whereas using the Linked Picture command will show a transparent background (usually not what you want).

  • Linked Picture With Transparent Background in Microsoft Excel 2007 2010 2013 2016 365

    If you paste a linked picture to another workbook, a link will be created between both workbooks, so you will need to have both workbooks open to update the linked pictures.
  • When you copy multiple linked pictures from one worksheet and paste them into another worksheet, you need to be careful that the previous picture is not 'selected' when you past subsequent pictures. The reason is that after you paste a picture into a worksheet, it is 'selected' (i.e. you can see a border with sizing handles around the picture). When you switch to another workbook to copy a second picture and come back, the previous picture is still selected. If you don't click a cell in the worksheet to 'unselect' the previous picture, when you paste the second picture, Excel will paste it, not only where you clicked the 'crosshairs' pointer, but it will also overwrite the previous picture because it was still selected. So, you end up with two copies of the second picture and lose your first one. That may sound a bit confusing but just try it and you'll see what I mean.
  • When you paste a picture of a range with cells whose background is set to 'No Fill', the picture pasted using the Camera tool will show a white background for those cells, whereas using the Linked Picture command will show a transparent background (usually not what you want).
 


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