Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Sorting with Graphics.

Sorting with Graphics

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 8, 2020)

You already know that Excel allows you to place graphics in your worksheets. You may not know, however, that Excel allows you to sort graphics along with the regular data in your tables. For instance, you could create an inventory table that has the requisite part numbers, descriptions, and quantities. You could also include a column that shows a small picture of each inventory item. When you later sort the table, the pictures sort right along with the rest of the data in the table.

If you can't seem to make the graphics sort along with the other data in the table, keep these pointers in mind:

  • The graphics have to be sized so they fit completely within the cell. They cannot be taller or wider than the cell over which you placed them.
  • You should make sure that the sorting function is selecting the column in which your graphics have been placed. You can check this by seeing if the column is selected when you use the Sort tool on the Data tab of the ribbon.

If your graphics still won't sort, the properties of the graphic may have been changed to prohibit sorting. Follow these steps if you are using Excel 2007:

  1. Right-click on a graphic image. Excel displays a shortcut menu.
  2. Choose Size and Properties from the shortcut menu. Excel displays the Size and Properties dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Properties tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Properties tab of the Size and Properties dialog box.

  5. Make sure the Move and Size with Cells option is selected.
  6. Click on Close.
  7. Repeat steps 1 through 5 for all the graphics in the column.

The steps are different for users of Excel 2010:

  1. Right-click on a graphic image. Excel displays a shortcut menu.
  2. Choose Size and Properties from the shortcut menu. Excel displays the Format Picture dialog box with the Size option selected at the left.
  3. At the left side of the dialog box choose Properties.
  4. Make sure the Move and Size with Cells option is selected.
  5. Click on Close.
  6. Repeat steps 1 through 5 for all the graphics in the column.

If you are using Excel 2013 or a later version, the steps are different still:

  1. Right-click on a graphic image. Excel displays a context menu.
  2. Choose Size and Properties from the context menu. Excel displays the Format Picture task pane at the right side of the screen.
  3. Make sure the Size and Properties icon is selected. (It should be by default. If not, it looks like a square with size markings on it.)
  4. Expand the Properties section. (See Figure 2.)
  5. Figure 2. The Properties settings in the Format Picture task pane.

  6. Make sure the Move and Size with Cells option is selected.
  7. Repeat steps 1 through 5 for all the graphics in the column.
  8. Close the task pane.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (6139) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Sorting with Graphics.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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