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Images in Excel Cells – at long last

At long last, there’s a way to insert an image into a single Excel cell called Place in Cell.  No problems with floating images etc, just a cell with a picture which resizes with the cell size.

Adding images to Excel sheets has always been confusing because they weren’t directly related to a single cell.  All images floated over the sheet with the option for them to move or resize with cells.

Now there’s Place in Cell which is a lot more obvious and easier to manage.  An image can be dropped into a cell and will resize as the cell changes.  That’s more limiting in some ways but when you have lots of images, it’s much easier to handle.

With it you can drop in pictures of products or staff or anything else you want.

A few Office Insiders have noticed the feature and are eagerly using it, a sign of how popular and useful Pictures in Cells will be once it officially exists and later available to all Excel 365 customers.

Insert … Place in Cell

Go to Insert | Illustrations | Pictures and the menu now has two options:

Place in cell – new, puts image into the selected cell only.

Place over cells – the long-standing way Excel handles images.

With Place in Cell, the image appears sized to the cell.

Position within the cell

The usual Left, Center, Right and Top, Middle, Bottom alignment choices will position the image within the cell.

Switch between ‘in cell’ and ‘over cells’

Any compatible image can be switched between the two modes.

Right-click on an image and look for “Place in Cell”.  Or the reverse Picture in Cell | Place over Cells.

Other in cell image options

A Picture in cell has two other options on the right-click menu.

At time of writing, neither of these options work properly. Hopefully they’ll work or work better by the time you try.

Create Reference

At the moment makes a cell reference but also duplicates the image to full-size and ‘over cells’.

Show image details

A tooltip appears but currently only with the image, no other details of the picture.

Pictures only – no Icons

‘Place in Cell’ only applies to images, not shapes nor amazingly Icons.  Even if an icon (.SVG file) is selected via Insert | Picture, Excel won’t show it in a cell.

The workaround is to save the Icon as a separate graphic (say .PNG or .JPG) by right-clicking on the icon and choosing “Save As Picture”. Then insert the picture using Place in Cell.

Alternatively, use IMAGE()

The relatively new IMAGE() function can also put an picture into a cell. 

The third parameter “Sizing” with options 0 or 1 will limit the image to the cell.

Work in Progress

Images in Cells is very much a ‘work in progress’ at the moment.

It has appeared without fanfare in Excel 365 Insiders Beta releases for Windows and Mac. There was a page about ‘Picture in Cell’ in Excel on the web but that page has been removed.

What we’ve described is how Images in Cells is working now. It’ll probably change and improve with later builds.

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