How to Insert a Picture Into an Excel Cell

By Aurelio Locsin

Inserting an image into an Excel 2013 worksheet normally puts the image on a separate layer, which floats above the worksheet independently from the cells. If you'd rather have an image inside a cell, just change the image's formatting options. Another way to insert a picture directly inside a cell is to put it in a comment. Not only does this lock an image to a specific cell, it keeps the image out of the way until you need it. By clicking on the comment icon in the cell's corner, the picture opens in a comment box. Closing the comment hides the image again.

Inserting Pictures in Cells

Step 1

Click on any Excel worksheet cell you want to contain an image. You can enlarge the cell's width as needed by dragging the line separating the column headers, like the line between A and B. Likewise, drag the line separating the row numbers to increase the cell's height.

Step 2

Click the "Insert" menu, select "Illustrations" from the ribbon that appears and then click "Pictures." Locate the image file you want to use and double-click it. The picture appears with its upper-left corner matching the upper-left corner of the cell you specified.

Step 3

Resize the picture as needed by dragging any of the circular anchors on the edge of the image. If you don't see the anchors, click the picture to select it and they should appear again. Holding down the shift key while dragging one of the corner anchors will preserve the image's aspect ratio so it doesn't get distorted.

Step 4

Right-click the image and choose "Format Picture" from the Context menu. Click the "Size" icon that appears in the Format Picture menu. The icon looks like a square with arrows being measured for its height and width. Select "Properties," then click the "Move But Don't Size With Cells" option. Your image now moves as though it is part of the cell.

Step 5

Resize the cell as needed to accommodate the picture. Note that if you copy and paste the cell, the image is copied as well. The image in the copied cell has the same position and size as the original.

Inserting Pictures in Cell Comments

Step 1

Right click any cell and click the "Arrow" on the Context menu that opens. Select "New Comment" from the drop-down menu. If you already have a comment in the worksheet, open it by clicking the upper-right corner of the cell containing that comment. A small comment box appears.

Step 2

Right-click any edge of the comment box and choose "Format Comment." The Format Comment window opens with several tabs at the top. If it has only the Font tab, try again until you see many tabs.

Step 3

Click the "Colors and Lines" tab in the Format Comment window. Select the "Color" menu and click "Fill Effects."

Step 4

Click the "Select Picture" button, navigate to your image and double-click it. A preview of the picture now appears in the Fill Effects window. To ensure the image doesn't get distorted, select the "Lock Picture Aspect Ratio" opion. Click "OK" to close the Fill Effects window, then click "OK" again to close the Format Comment window.

Step 5

Adjust the size of the comment box as needed by clicking on it until the circular anchors appear on the edges. Hold down the "Shift" key and drag a corner handle to resize the comment box until it accommodates the image.

Tips & Warnings

  • Inserting large images into a worksheet will make the file unnecessarily large. Use an image editing program to reduce large images before putting them into Excel.