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: Exporting a Graphics Group.

Exporting a Graphics Group

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 21, 2020)

5

As you know, Excel allows you to add simplistic graphics to your worksheets through the use of shapes. It is not unusual for these graphics to become rather complex over time as you add to them and edit them to get them looking just the way you want them. After putting in the time for the desired result, you may want to export a graphics group as a single GIF file so you can use it in other programs or on the Web.

Unfortunately, there is no way to do this in Excel. Even in VBA the group cannot be exported as a graphic. (Individual objects can, but not the group as a whole.) The only workaround that we could come up with seems rather old-fashioned. Follow these steps if you are using Excel 2007 or Excel 2010:

  1. Display the worksheet containing the graphics group you want in the GIF file.
  2. Make sure the Excel program window is maximized.
  3. Display the View tab of the ribbon.
  4. Click the Full Screen tool in the Workbook Views group. Excel hides many of its on-screen accoutrements.
  5. Press the Print Screen key on your keyboard. The entire image of the screen is copied to the Clipboard.
  6. Minimize or exit Excel.
  7. Start your favorite graphics editing program.
  8. Paste the contents of the Clipboard into the graphics program.
  9. Edit the graphic as desired, so that it contains only the grouped items.
  10. Save the image as a GIF image.

Note that in Excel 2013 the Full Screen tool was removed, so steps 1 through 4 above won't work for later versions of Excel. An easy technique to hide the ribbon is to press Ctrl+F1. Once the ribbon is no longer displayed, follow steps 5 through 10 above. If desired, press Ctrl+F1 again to display the ribbon.

You might also try using Andy Pope's Graphics Exporter add-in, which may fit your needs. You can find it here:

http://www.andypope.info/vba/gex.htm

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9899) 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: Exporting a Graphics Group.

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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What is seven more than 6?

2020-09-21 17:15:06

Ronmio

As Darren said, exporting graphics is a snap using Copy as Picture (from within the Copy dropdown) right from the Clipboard section of Excel's Home tab. It couldn't be any easier.

Copy as Picture is very flexible, works perfectly, and there are several ways to use it:

1. Hold down the left mouse button and drag to define a range. Everything within that range will be copied to the clipboard. This includes data within the cells as well as any graphic objects (or portion thereof) that fall within the selected range.

2. Shift-Click on all the objects you want in the picture. The resulting picture will include the entirety of all the selected objects.

3. Use the Select Objects arrow to select a rectangular area on the worksheet. The resulting picture will include all the objects that fall entirely within the selection rectangle. (Note that you can augment that selection by using Shift-Click to add or remove objects from the initial selection.)

Part of the beauty of Copy as Picture is that it gives you the option to copy your selection a) As shown on screen, or b) As shown when printed. In the latter case, the resulting picture can include gridlines and row/column headings if, on the Page Layout tab, you have told Excel to Print them.

Once you have copied the desired picture, you can paste it elsewhere in Excel or another application. I often resort to using Copy as Picture because Excel's WYSIWYG printing is not very good with graphics; they can become distorted and misaligned. So I will "draw" my perfect picture on one worksheet, then copy it as a picture, and paste that into a blank worksheet ... and then I can print the new worksheet knowing that the picture won't get messed up when Excel prints it.

The shortcoming of copying to the clipboard is that Windows doesn't yet allow you to save clipboard contents to a file (e.g., JPG, GIF, PNG). That's when you will want to resort to using the Snipping Tool or a paint program as an intermediary.


2016-05-09 00:02:25

Darren E

For shapes, groups, charts, ranges and other elements in your workbook (i.e. not things like menus) you can also use Copy As Picture.
Then open Paint or whatever graphics program you use, and Paste.

All the other methods work too and have their pros and cons but it is not correct to say there is no way to do this in Excel.


2016-03-29 11:20:01

Danielle

Thank you, Peter. I'm actually not a fan of the Snipping Tool either, but included it for those who might be.

Nice to know about the Faststone Image Viewer - will check that out!


2016-02-26 09:35:10

Peter Atherton

Danielle

The snipping tool is great for simple rectangles but I can't get it to handle more complicated shapes. The free Faststone Image Viewer is better for cutting things like menus and sub-menus


2016-02-25 10:25:45

Danielle Reed

Although I generally prefer to accomplish that type of task the way that you suggest (with Paint, which will do things that many other graphics editors will NOT do, like pixel-by-pixel repair/editing - nice for repairing scans of physical photos), newer versions of Windows also have something called Snipping Tool, which opens with on-screen instructions. If you do a search from the Start menu or an App Search for SNIP, it will come up.


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