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Microsoft Excel has supported inserting images into spreadsheets for years, but they floated above the sheet instead of appearing in cells. That’s finally changing.

Microsoft is now testing a new function in Excel, called IMAGE, which returns an image within a cell. Unlike the existing method of inserting an image (from the Insert tab), the new function keeps the image inside the cell, so it can stay in its intended place as you adjust rows and columns.

Example of IMAGE() function that inserts a sphere into a cell

The new IMAGE function imports an image from a specified URL, which can be in BMP, JPG/JPEG, GIF, TIFF, PNG, ICO, or WebP format. You can optionally set an alt text (alternative text) value, which is helpful for screen readers and other accessibility tools. The width and height can be defined in pixels, or you can pick from three other options — fit the image with its aspect ratio, fit the image ignoring the aspect ratio, or maintain the original size (which could exceed the cell boundary).

=IMAGE(source, [alt_text], [sizing], [height], [width])

Images are already invaluable for Excel spreadsheets, especially to illustrate example inputs, mathematical models, and other data. The ability to insert images directly into cells is especially helpful for anyone creating templates and documents that need to look more like a web page or Word document. You can also spruce up your monthly budget sheet with a few relevant memes.

The IMAGE function is now available in Beta Channel builds for Office Insiders on Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Android. Once all the problems are ironed out, Microsoft will roll it out to everyone — except people using Excel on a computer without a Microsoft 365 subscription, since new features usually don’t roll out to non-subscription apps.

Source: Microsoft

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Corbin Davenport is the News Editor at How-To Geek, an independent software developer, and a podcaster. He previously worked at Android Police, PC Gamer, and XDA Developers.
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