How to Export Excel Charts as Image Files
Microsoft Excel is a powerful spreadsheet application, but it also allows for the creation of a wide variety of impressive charts and graphs, which are embedded in the spreadsheet file by default. While sharing an entire Excel file is often preferable, sometimes you may wish to only share or export the graph or chart. Here are several ways to export an Excel chart as an image.
For the purposes of this article, we are using Microsoft Office 2013, the most recent version for Windows as of the date of publication. Note, however, that the steps described here generally apply to older versions of the productivity suite as well.
Export Excel Charts Directly Into Other Office Applications
Many users looking to grab an Excel chart or graph out of a spreadsheet file simply want to use the image in another Microsoft Office application. Examples include embedding it in a quarterly report Word document, or displaying it as a slide in a PowerPoint presentation.
To copy a chart image from Excel to another Office application, right-click on the edge of the chart in the Excel spreadsheet file and choose Copy. Selecting the chart from the edge ensures that you grab the entire chart; clicking inside the chart may inadvertently select only certain elements of the chart.
Now head to your other Office app and locate where you’d like to insert your Excel chart image. In our screenshots, we’re pasting the chart into a Word document. Place your cursor in the desired location and go to the Home tab. Click the triangle under Paste and choose the option on the far right, which will paste the chart as a picture.
This will insert the chart as an image file, preserving the design and look of the chart exactly as it was in Excel. The image will be pasted in its actual size, which may be too big or small for your document. In that case, you can move and resize it in the same way that other image files are manipulated within Office.
Alternatively, you can paste the chart “live,” in the sense that the data from the Excel chart will be copied into the Word or PowerPoint document using the formatting of either the source Excel workbook or the native Office document. In this case, you’d choose one of the first two options of the Paste window, with the option to keep source (Excel) or destination formatting as desired. Note, however, that some charts don’t look quite right with this method, even when using the “keep source formatting” option. Therefore, if you want to preserve the formatting of the Excel chart exactly, you’ll likely want to stick with pasting the chart as an image.
Export Excel Charts with Microsoft Paint
If you want to divorce the Excel charts from Office entirely and just create a simple image file, the easiest way is to copy the chart from Excel into Microsoft Paint (or another image editing application, but we’ll stick with Paint for this tutorial as it’s free and included in every version of Windows).
To get started, start by copying the chart in the Excel document as explained above. This time, however, we’ll paste the image into Paint instead of another Office application.
With the chart copied, launch Paint and create a new blank document. Then press Control-V to paste the chart image. Alternatively, you can press the Paste button in the ribbon interface.
If your chart image is larger than the default canvas size in Paint, the canvas will automatically expand to exactly fit the dimensions of the chart when pasted. If the canvas is too large, however, and there’s a lot of white space on the right and bottom of your chart image, you can simply grab the corner of your canvas and resize it to fit the chart.
Once you’re done, go to File > Save As and choose the image format in which you’d like to save your chart. Popular choices include JPEG or PNG. With your image file created, you can now distribute it to colleagues, embed it in other documents or applications, or just file it away for archival purposes.
Export All Excel Charts by Saving the Workbook as a Web Page
If you have multiple charts in an Excel document, you may not wish to replicate the steps above for each and every one. A fast way to export all of the charts in an Excel workbook as images is to save a copy of the workbook as a Web Page, as in doing so, Excel will create and export image files for you.
Head back to Excel and choose File > Save As. If you’re using Excel 2013, choose to save the document on your computer as opposed to an online solution like OneDrive.
In the Save As window, navigate to the location where you’d like to save the document. This can be a temporary location because you’ll likely delete the Web Page archive after you grab the chart image files. Under “Save as type” select Web Page and under the “Save” option, make sure that Entire Workbook is checked. Press Save to finish the process, ignoring any messages about compatibility.
Now navigate to where you saved the Web Page archive. You’ll find a single .htm file as well as a folder of the same name, but with a “_files” addendum. Inside this folder you’ll find the necessary HTML files, including images of all of your charts. Depending on the size of your original chart in the Excel workbook, there may be two copies of each chart, one at full resolution and another at a smaller resolution for use in the website layout. Grab whichever one you desire (we’d recommend the full resolution file) and copy it to a new location for safekeeping.
Once all of your chart images are exported, feel free to delete the Web Page archive. As long as you used “Save As” as described above to create it, your original Excel workbook will remain intact and untouched by this process.