Dragging Pictures in Excel

Do you ever insert pictures into Excel? I add company logos occasionally, when creating a template for clients. They send me a jpg file, which I store in a folder in Windows Explorer.

When it’s time to insert that logo, I usually try to drag and drop it onto the worksheet. Of course, that doesn’t work, as I’ve discovered hundreds of times before. But I never give up!

It looks promising, because the pointer gets a little plus sign, as though it’s going to add something to the worksheet.


Maybe this capability was added in the latest Service Pack! But no, the drag and drop from Windows Explore into Excel never works.

Drag From Anywhere Else

Although dragging from Windows Explorer doesn’t work, you can drag and drop other images into Excel. For example, if you find a picture in a web browser, you can drag that into Excel. I was able to drag an image from one of my blog posts onto a sheet, without any problems.

Drag and Drop Pictures in Excel  blog.contextures.com

If I have Microsoft Word open, I can drag an image from Windows Explorer into the Word document, and drag from there into Excel.


That’s an extra step, but it’s much quicker than using Excel’s Insert Picture command, and browsing for the picture.


Drag Images Within Excel

Another little quirk with images in Excel is that you can’t drag them from one sheet to another – you have to cut and paste. If text is selected, I can press the Alt key, drag the text to a sheet tab, and drag the text to a position on the new sheet.


That doesn’t work with images though – a red circle with a slash appears on the sheet tab. No dragging images for you!


Fancy Pictures in Excel

Even though you can’t drag pictures into Excel, you can make them fancy-looking, with all the special effects on the Picture tab on the Ribbon. For example, you can remove the background from a picture, to show more of the worksheet.

Maybe in the next version, we’ll be able to drag and drop them from Explorer too.



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6 Responses

  1. Bill Jelen says:

    Hi Debra – How maddening that you can drag a picture from a browser or from Word. It makes the lack of drag-and-drop from Windows Explorer even more maddening. How could they not have hooked this up?

  2. Jon Acampora says:

    I never knew about that Alt+Drag Range to a new sheet trick. Very cool!

    I use Excel as an image editor for most of the screenshots and images on my blog as well. It does a fantastic job of basic image creation and editing, especially with the evolution of the shapes features over the years.

    When importing an image, I typically copy the file location path of the address from the address bar in windows explorer, then paste the text in the address bar of the Insert Picture file browse menu. The file path of the folder that contains the image will typically look something like the following.


    Copy this string from the address bar in Windows Explorer, and paste in the Insert Picture address bar. Press Enter and you will automatically jump to the folder that contains your image. Then just select your image and press the Insert button.

    It’s still not as quick as drag-n-drop, but it saves time from having to drill down through all your folders to find your image.

  3. józek says:

    Use openoffice calc. No problem with dragging pictures and free

  1. March 10, 2014

    […] can drag pictures from Windows Explorer into Word, but not into Excel. So, if you want to drag and drop images, drag them into Word first, and from there into […]

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