What is Excel Camera Tool and How to Use It?


Watch Video – Excel Camera Tool and How to Use it!


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.

Keep clicking!!

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Picture of Sumit Bansal
Hello there! I'm Sumit Bansal, founder of trumpexcel.com and an Excel MVP. I started this website in 2013 with a simple goal: to share my love for Excel through easy to follow tips, tutorials and videos. I'm here to help you get the best out of MS Excel to save time and boost your productivity.

20 thoughts on “What is Excel Camera Tool and How to Use It?”

  1. If the ‘picture’ you’re taking is of a table that is expanding (you’re adding rows), can the view of that table be expanded automatically, or do you have to keep on taking another picture?

    • Hi Steve, it’s December 2019 and I hope you haven’t been waiting since May 2013 for this answer. I also came looking for this answer and stumbled upon the solution elsewhere.

      You can. Click on the picture and adjust the formula in the formula bar to include the columns you want. You will need to adjust the “picture” ratio but you won’t have to retake another picture. e.g. the image formula is =$A$1:$B$1, to add another column, adjust the formula to =$A$1:$C$1

      • So, it’s not totally automatic. I’d have to keep on editing the image range in the formula, or every few time periods add a few more rows at one time, instead of doing it every time the range expands.

          • I suspect you can set your data to be an excel table, which would have a name. Then set the formula =”tablename”. When the table expands the image should dynamically update. Wont help with aspect ratios etc though.

  2. Hello Sir,

    Commendable Article. Thanks a Lot !
    I miss one thing. I have a defined range named “CustomRng” which is based on a date mentioned by user. It can be of 5 rows, 10 rows or any number of rows.

    When I try to change the reference in Formula Box to =CustomRng,
    I get a message “Reference isn’t valid”

    What am I missing ?

  3. nice information of excel camera tool before reading this post I don’t know, about this feature of word excel thanks for such an informative post.

  4. You three previous commenters do understand that trump means “…a playing card of the suit chosen to rank above the others…” or to overcome or master something; in this instance, Excel; don’t you?


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