How To Extract Pictures from an Excel File

Excel is Microsoft's spreadsheet software application used for work that involves calculation, graphing, data summarizing and analysis, and other related tasks. Together with Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Outlook, it is one of the main components of the bundle of productivity software collectively known as Microsoft Office. As with other Office applications, inserted images in Excel become embedded in the file and cannot be simply copied and pasted out as a separate picture file. Here are two simple ways to extract pictures from an Excel file.

  1. Save the Excel file as a web page. Click on File and choose the Save As option. This will open a window that will allow you to choose where in the system you would like to save the file, change the file name, and change the file type. Changing the file type can be done in the drop-down menu labeled 'Save as type:' located at the bottom of the window. Pull out the menu, scroll down and choose the Web page option - 'Web Page (*.htm;*.html)'. Click the Save button and a copy of the Excel file will now be created and saved as an html file or web page. This means that the web page copy of the Excel file can be opened with Internet Explorer or other browsers. When a web page is saved in a computer two files are actually generated. One is the html file itself which you click to view in a browser, and the other is a folder that contains all the images and other component files that are part of the web page. For example, an Excel file named Book1.xls saved as a web page will generate 'Book1.htm' and a folder labeled 'Book1_files'. If Book1.xls contained images, these images will now be in the Book1_files folder, existing as discrete picture files. You can simply cut-and-paste or drag-and-drop these picture files to a different directory or open them in a graphics editing software to tweak the images themselves or just convert them to another format.
  2. Copy and paste the pictures in a graphics editing software. Photoshop, GIMP and Paint are just a few examples of applications that fall under the graphics editing software category. Each of the ones mentioned have varying degrees of complexity and functionality. Paint is a utility that comes with the Windows operating system. The other two are third-party applications that need to be installed separately. Open the pertinent Excel file, right-click on the image that needs to be extracted, and choose either copy or cut. You can also click on the image once to select it and then press Ctrl-C for copy or Ctrl-X for cut. Open the Paint utility found in the Start menu under Accessories. Once the utility application is open you can either right-click on the application's main window then choose paste, or you can press Ctrl-V. The image from Excel will now appear in Paint. Again, at this point you can either tweak the picture or save it in a format, location or file name you prefer. The image then becomes a separate picture file. Repeat the process for every image that needs to be extracted.

Users typically input alphanumeric text and/or numeric values in an Excel spreadsheet, then establish relationships between these units or groups of data by creating formulas. Inserting images in Excel spreadsheet cells is a less orthodox use of the application but it is still commonly done by users. The methods of extracting images from an Excel file also apply to images inserted in a Microsoft Word document.


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