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Home > English site > Articles > Show Picture
Deze pagina in het Nederlands

Showing a picture from a list of pictures


Many people keep part lists in Excel. Sometimes even with embedded pictures next to the part data.

This article demonstrates a method to show a picture on a sheet that changes when a different part number is chosen from the list of available part numbers.

Preparing the list

The first thing to do is to position the pictures properly. Each picture should go in a cell on the same row as a unique description (part number) of the part it pertains to.

Format the cells, so the picture fits in a single cell (either adjust the size of the picture, or adjust row height and column width):

Figure 1, screenshot showing a list of icons next to their description

Preparing the sheet that shows the dynamic picture

We need some way of knowing which picture is to be shown. We start off by defining a dynamic range name that will expand automatically when we add new items to our list (assuming they are on Sheet1, starting on cell A1, with one row of headings) Choose Insert, name define (In Excel 2007 and up on the "Formulas" tab of the ribbon, in the "Defined Names" group, click the "Define Name" button) and define this name:

Name Refers to
PictureList =OFFSET(Sheet1!$A$1,1,0,COUNTA(Sheet1!$A:$A)-1,1)

Let us say cell A2 on sheet2 will be used to enter the picture code we want to see the picture from. The formula in the next defined name will point to the cell to the right of the cell who's picture name matches the text entered in cell Sheet2!A2:

Name Refers to
Picture =OFFSET(Sheet1!$B$2,MATCH(Sheet2!$A$2,PictureList,0)-1,0,1,1)

Creating the picture

Excel 2007

There are two methods to insert the proper picture in Excel 2007. One is by adding the camera tool to your QAT and using that, the other is shown below.

Select the cell where you want your dynamic picture to appear and click the Insert tab of the ribbon.  On the far right, find the "Object" button and click it (see screenshot below).

Figure 2, Insert Object button on the ribbon

The Insert object dialog appears:

Figure 3, Object Dialog

Select the top option (Bitmap Image) and click OK.

Excel 2010

In Excel 2010, the Object button does not work, you have to either use the camera tool, or insert a picture from file (ane pciture file will do), after which you can change the formula.

After inserting the picture or object, hit escape to return to Excel. The newly inserted picture object should still be selected. The formula bar should show something like =EMBED("Paint.Picture";""). Click in the formula bar and replace the entire formula with this formula: =Picture

Figure 4, screenshot showing the picture's formula bar.

Hit enter or click the green checkmark to the left of the formula bar.

Excel 97 to 2003

Select the cell with the topmost picture. Hold down the shift key and click the Edit menu. It should show "Copy Picture...":

Figure 4, screenshot showing part of Excel's Edit menu when clicked whilst holding down the shift key.

Select "As shown on screen" from the next dialog and click OK.

Now navigate to the cell (on Sheet2 in this example) where you want to show the dynamic picture and hit the paste button (or control-v):

Figure 5, screenshot showing the pasted picture.

Figure 6, screenshot showing the pasted picture's formula bar.

Making the picture dynamic

To simplify the selection of the picture description, we can use Data, validation:

Now you can select from the available picture descriptions:

And we're done!


Click here to download a sample file.

Other solutions

Bernie Deitrick came up with this nice sheet, which handles more pictures, but uses VBA


Showing last 8 comments of 177 in total (Show All Comments):


Comment by: tbennett (3/7/2017 10:25:16 PM)

How do you get the boxes around the images NOT to show up? On your Sheet 1 they aren't there but on Sheet 2 there is a box around the image. It did the same thing with my flags. Is there anyway to get rid of those? Thanks!


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (3/8/2017 9:49:50 AM)

Hi tbennet,

That is a matter of selecting the picture opbject and changing its property:

- Right-click the pic, select Format Picture
- Click Line color and select No line


Comment by: Maria (7/19/2017 1:52:26 PM)

I downloaded your sample it it works great.
I need to set up 3 drop downs like this on the same sheet, and I can't figure out how to copy the other 2 sets.
Please help : )


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (8/13/2017 5:06:02 PM)

Hi Maria,

You will have to create a set of range names for each dropdown, precisely as in the example, but each having different range names of course.


Comment by: Deepak (2/25/2018 6:10:07 AM)


I have created a ADD-ins and placed in excel ribbon using Custom UI Editor For Microsoft Office XML. When Click in Tab of this ADD-in it open a Excel DATA file and a Userform together, which take data that have been searched from this Excel file.

what i want is, Add-n should only open userform despite of open other excel data file, userform should take data from inbuilt workbook of ADD-in

i tried Application.isaddin true/false but it is not working!

When a workbook convert into addin by Application.isaddin true/false, no data can be taken from this hidden workbook of addin and userform is not taking data from this hidden workbook of ADDin


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (2/26/2018 10:16:23 AM)

Hi Deepak,

What happens when you click a custom ribbon button is set in the onaction callback of that button. The name of that onaction macro must be unique, otherwise you risk that the button may call an identically named macro in another workbook. So make sure your onaction callback has a unique name.


Comment by: DeePak (3/1/2018 6:46:24 AM)


I set addinn to open Excel Data file and userform together. Excel data file ( Named AD-details) has 1000 rows AD data which are being used by userform (Named: AD-search).

This userform takes data from this Workbook (AD-details) and showing result.

but as every add-inn has hidden workbook(sheets) and this 1000 rows data can be saved into it as well.

and i want when i click on onaction callback this must open AD-search Userform only and for its data, this userform should take data from workbook of Addinn itself


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (3/1/2018 8:41:43 AM)

Hi Deepak,

The reason your code does not work as expected is very hard to know without seeing your code. However, if your code addresses a different workbook than you want, make sure you inlude the workbook object reference in your code, e.g.:

instead of:
Worksheets("AD Data")

ThisWorkbook.Worksheets("AD Data")


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