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Picture Lookup in Excel
Excel Tips and Tricks

Picture Lookup and Image inside Pivot table in Excel

When we think of Excel, we typically envision a sea of numbers, text, and cells. But what if I told you that you could transform Excel from a grid of data into a visual information powerhouse? Indeed, with a feature that’s gaining more recognition – inserting images into Excel cells – you’re able to take data representation and analysis to a whole new level. In this article, we will delve into the details of how to insert a picture in an Excel cell, how to leverage lookup functions with images, and even use images in Pivot Tables.

Why Should You Care About Inserting Images in Excel Cells?

Firstly, why does this even matter? The answer is twofold:

  1. Visual cues: Images provide instant recognition, making data interpretation faster and easier. For instance, imagine an inventory list with small thumbnails of each product in a cell next to the item name.
  2. Versatility: From using pictures in lookup functions to including them in Pivot tables, the applications are plentiful.

Now that you know the potential, let’s dive into the ‘how-to’.

Inserting a Picture in Excel Cell

For those using Excel 365, there’s a new feature in preview: ‘Place picture in cell’. It’s not widely available yet, but it’s expected to roll out soon. Here’s how you can use it:

  1. Go to the Insert tab.
  2. Navigate to Illustrations >> Pictures
  3. You’ll find two options – ‘Place in cells’ and ‘Place over cells’. Select ‘Place in cells’.
  4. Now, you can choose images from your device, stock images, or search for online pictures.
Place picture in cell
Place picture in cell

You’re not just limited to inserting images into Excel cells. You can bring those images into play using the “FILTER” or “LOOKUP” functions.

Picture Lookup in Excel: Unveiling the Power of Visual Data

Let’s take an example where we have used the “FILTER” function to filter employees by their department:

In another scenario, we have used “XLOOKUP” and “VLOOKUP” to fetch employee information based on an image. Here are the formulas we used:

=XLOOKUP(D4,'Picture in Cell'!$C$3:$C$12,'Picture in Cell'!$B$3:$B$12) =VLOOKUP(D4,'Picture in Cell'!$C$2:$E$12,2,0) =VLOOKUP(D4,'Picture in Cell'!$C$2:$E$12,3,0)

Picture Lookup in Excel
Picture Lookup in Excel

Excel Image Function & Hyperlink Function

Excel offers an IMAGE function that allows you to display images from a URL in a cell. Moreover, you can pair it with the HYPERLINK function to create clickable product images:


=HYPERLINK(C2,IMAGE("https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2022/05/06/17/46/buy-now-7178817_1280.png","Buy Now",3,70,120))

Excel Image Function & Hyperlink Function
Excel Image Function & Hyperlink Function

Pictorially Representing Geographical Data

Excel allows us to convert text into geography data types and fetch the flag image of the respective country. After converting the column data type to ‘Geography’, we use the formula =A2.Image to insert the country flag image in an Excel cell.

Flag Image in Excel
Flag Image in Excel

Images in Pivot Tables

If your data includes an image column, it’s usable in Pivot Tables. This feature enables the incorporation of visual elements into your data analysis.

Images in Pivot Tables
Images in Pivot Tables


Images in Excel cells open up a whole new dimension of data representation, enhancing user experience and comprehension. By integrating visuals into our data, we can make Excel more than just a grid of numbers, but a tool that tells a compelling, vivid story.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can you insert an image into an Excel cell?

Yes, with the new feature in Excel 365 named ‘Place picture in cell’, this is possible. However, this feature is currently in preview and will be available for everyone soon.

Q. Can I use an image in Excel lookup functions?

Yes, you can use images in lookup functions. After inserting the image in a cell, you can use “XLOOKUP” or “VLOOKUP” functions to retrieve data based on the image.

Q. How can I use images in Pivot Tables?

If your data includes an image column, you can use it in your Pivot Table in Rows, Columns, or Filters.

By inserting images into Excel cells, we’re not just enriching data representation, but also expanding the functionality of Excel.

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