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Excel's Camera tool enables you to select a range of cells and make a live picture that you can place anywhere in your workbook. Since it makes a picture, it does not have to fit into worksheet row/columns, a great help in building dashboard  type reports.  Since it's a live picture, any changes to the source range are automatically updated in the picture. The Camera tool can significantly increase your Excel dashboard quality quickly and easily.

Adding the tool to your Excel

The Camera Tool button does not show up on any default toolbars, so you'll need to add it yourself. It only takes a few steps, and it is well worth it, so let's add it now

Excel 2003

  1. Select View -> Toolbars -> Customize
  2. Select Command Tab, On the Customize dialog
  3. Scroll down to the Camera Icon
  4. Drag the Camera icon to your target toolbar

Excel 2007

The Quick Access Toolbar is a customisable toolbar in which you can store frequently used commands so that they're always accessible with just one click. You can add commands to the QAT by dragging them directly from the Ribbon or by going through the Customise menu.

Follow these steps to add the Camera tool to the QAT:

  1. Select the Excel Options button to activate the Excel Options dialog box.
  2. Click the Customize button.
  3. In the Choose Commands From drop-down list, select Commands Not in the Ribbon.
  4. Scroll down the alphabetical list of commands and find Camera; double-click to add it to QAT.
  5. Click OK to close the Excel Options dialog box

Excel 2010

Users of Excel 2010 will need to ignore the Button as it is no longer used. Instead press the the File Tab and choose Options then follow the steps for Excel 2007

Using the Camera Tool

Since your picture is live, any changes (data, format, formulas) in source cells will immediately appear in your picture. Also because your copy is a picture, you can move it anywhere you want, it floats over the rows/columns. This let's you be creative, mix and match charts and data pictures more freely than you ever could with just rows and columns.

 © Roy Cox 2005 to 2013

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Excel’s little known Camera Tool