Excel Camera tool – What, How and Why? – Snap up your spreadsheet skills - KING OF EXCEL

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Excel Camera tool – What, How and Why? – Snap up your spreadsheet skills


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Excel Camera tool – What, How and Why? – Snap up your spreadsheet skills

Very recently my passion for art is realized in the form of photography. I wanted it but I never knew that it will soon be an addiction and will have a name as well. And now I completely agree that when you are passionate about doing something you will always make time for it.

And that is exactly happening these days and beside being an accountant, teacher and Exceler, now I am also a Faltugrapher, I mean photographer. The ones who have a heart for photography and art can check out my facebook page and website.

But this post is not about photography for sure so lets turn away from irrelevant stuff and come straight to excelling at Excel.

I never understood the reason and use of camera tool and frankly speaking I have never used this tool as a great piece in any project but yeah I did used it to make things easier while doing projects as it makes things easier (which you will understand how in a minute). And I realized only this after I knew how important pictures are sometimes as it not only help you relive the moment (or revisit the information) but also keep track of how things have changed since then. But in Excel snapping through Camera tool is much more than just taking pictures.

How to get your own Camera? – Finding Excel Tool

Having a good camera in real is no easy thing and same goes in Excel too. If you have Excel application (especially 2007 or later) opened and you are trying to find this in ribbon and going crazy in tabs then you won’t find it. Why? Because its not there!

In order to have camera tool in your reach follow these steps:

Step 1: After you have Excel program launched up and running, move your cursor above tabs and click small drop-down arrow on the right of quick access toolbar.

Step 2: From the menu click the second last option which is “More commands…” This will open up Excel options box.

Step 3: Under “Choose commands from” drop-down list select “All commands”

Step 4: Scroll the list down to find Camera. List is alphabetically arranged so don’t be too scared seeing if it is too long 🙂

Step 5: Select camera tool and click the add button and then click OK. Now you will have a camera tool in the quick access tool bar which you can use either by clicking it by mouse or using keyboard Alt key combination.

Following animation walks you through all five steps:

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So now you have a hidden gem and that is all free of cost too. Now we are ready to use and understand its functionality with few examples at hand. Lets snap ahead!

Pic-tastic! #1 – Visual LIVE feed of range of cells

Don’t get me wrong when I deliberately added self coined word pictastic as it comes with reasons. With pictures you have such flexibility available which is not possible otherwise. You can move it to other worksheet, arrange, format, rotate and so on.

However, the “capture” using camera tool is not a static picture rather its more of a live feed of that area of Excel workspace. You can capture a cell or range of cells and produce it as standalone picture that provides you live-view of that range of cells which means that if data in those specific cells changes then picture will update automatically. Following steps make using this tool easy:

Step 1: Select a cell or range of cells and click camera tool icon in the task bar. Cursor will now change into crosshairs.

Step 2: Go to the place where you want to place the picture and click and hold the left mouse button and drag. Let go the button and picture will be pasted.

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Pic-tastic #2 – Visual LIVE feed of anything in the range

Excel’s camera tool not only provide a live view of cells in the captured area but it can provide a view of any object placed in that area. It can be chart or any other Excel object. However, to have that object show up in the picture, object must be within the range that was captured.

For example, the same area that you captured above in Pictast #1 now have a chart in it than that chart will show up in the picture as well.

In short, capture any group of cells and whatever is present in those cells (in those cells or above those cells) will show up in the picture.

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Bonus tip – From Pic-tastic to Fun-tastic!

As the output of of camera tool is a picture, you can apply every feature that is available to format picture like shading, crop, shadow, 3D effects, outlines and so on

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So here you have it. A fantastic inspiration delivered. One of such tools that even I ignored does have some darn good uses. And I am sure that Excel community out there is using it as creatively as real cameras are used in real world. So if you are using this tool then do share your ideas with us in the comment box below and would love to learn more.

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