What is Excel Camera Tool and How to Use It?

creating-amazing-excel-dashboards-using-excel-camera-tool

For all those who think working with Excel is boring, here is your answer to them – Excel Camera Tool.

Now, don’t get all excited.

It’s is not about a fancy DSLR and lens. It’s just another feature with a cool name.

To begin with, Excel Camera Tool is not even available by default in Excel QAT or Ribbon. You need to take a few steps to dig down into excel features and pull it out.

Getting Access to Excel Camera Tool

Here are the steps that will add the Excel Camera Tool t0 the Quick Access Toolbar:

  • Right click on any of the tabs and select Customize Quick Access Toolbar. It will open the Excel Options dialogue box.
  • In the Choose Commands from the drop-down, select All Commands.
    Excel Camera Tool - All Commands
  • Scroll down the list below the drop down and select Camera Tool Option (HINT: The icon looks like a camera).
    Excel Camera Tool - Select Camera
  • With the Camera Option selected, click on the Add button.
    Excel Camera Tool - Add Button
  • Click OK, and it will add the Camera tool icon in the Quick Access Toolbar.
    Excel Camera Tool - Added in QAT

So you have the access to the camera tool. Now, what?

Using Excel Camera Tool

Getting the Camera Tool in the QAT is only half the battle won. The real skill is in using it efficiently.

Using the Excel Camera tool is a 3-step process (just like LIGHTS..CAMERA.. ACTION):

  • Select the cell or range of cells for which you want an image.
  • Click on the Excel Camera Tool icon in the Quick Access Toolbar.
  • Go to the worksheet and click anywhere.

That’s it!

Now you would have an image of the range of cells that you selected.

Try it out. Change something in the range of cells and the image would automatically update itself.

Something as shown below:

Excel Camera Tool - Example

It’s almost like a live feed. When you make a change in the data set, it is visible in the image in real time.

Also, you need not have the data and image in the same worksheet. You can have it anywhere in the workbook and it would still work.

When to Use the Excel Camera Tool – Some Examples

Excel Camera Tool comes in handy in many situations.

Here are a couple of examples where it will make your work easier.

#1 While Creating Excel Dashboards

When you are creating an Excel Dashboard, often, it becomes difficult to fit different charts and/or tables on a single page.

Excel camera tool can be helpful here as you can easily take a picture of the chart or the data table and place it on the dashboard.

Excel Camera Tool - Building Dashboards

You can also use Excel Camera tool to create micro charts, which is a resized version of any regular chart.

#2 When Working with large data sets

If you are working with data models that are interlinked and spans across various worksheets, it becomes difficult to keep track of the changes that occur when you change a particular cell.

Let’s say you have a complex data model where the user can change values in Sheet1 and it calculates the values in Sheet3.

In such a case, you can take a snapshot of the data in Sheet3 and see how it changes when you change the data in Sheet1.

#3 Creating Linked Images that update based on user selection

This one is a bit advanced use of Excel Camera tool. Suppose you have a list of items or names, and you want an image to update based on what name you select, then you can use the camera tool to create a linked image.

Something as shown below:

Club Logo Lookup

See Also: Image Lookup in Excel

These are just a few examples. Excel Camera Tool can be used in many situations.

Hope you liked this tutorial. Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment.

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