Use the Excel Camera Tool in Dashboards and Reports - dummies

Use the Excel Camera Tool in Dashboards and Reports

By Michael Alexander

To use Excel’s Camera tool when building dashboards and reports, simply highlight a range of cells to then capture everything in that range in a live picture. The cool thing about the Camera tool is that you’re not limited to showing a single cell’s value like you are with a linked text box. And because the picture is live, any updates made to the source range automatically changes the picture.

Take a moment to walk through this basic demonstration of the Camera tool. In this figure, you see some simple numbers and a chart based on those numbers. The goal here is to create a live picture of the range that holds both the numbers and the chart. Just follow these steps:


  1. Highlight the range that contains the information you want to capture. In this scenario, you select B3:F13 to capture the area with the chart.

  2. Select the Camera tool icon in the Quick Access toolbar.

  3. Click the worksheet in the location where you want to place the picture.

    Excel immediately creates a live picture of the entire range, as shown in this figure.


    Changing any number in the original range automatically causes the picture to update.

By default, the picture that’s created has a border around it. To remove the border, right-click the picture and select Format Picture. This opens the Format Picture dialog box. In the Colors and Lines tab, you see a Line Color drop-down list. Here you can select No Color, thereby removing the border. On a similar note, to get a picture without gridlines, simply remove the gridlines from the source range.