Solving the Camera Tool image quality problem?

Camera Tool image problem

A lot of dashboard creators love the Camera Tool, it’s such an easy way to compile charts and tables from all over a workbook into a single view.  However, there is one thing I dislike about the Camera Tool, and this one thing has kept me from using it more – the on-screen picture quality of the Camera Tool is quite poor.  When the workbook is printed, it’s fine, but interactive dashboards have to be viewed on screen, so image quality is important.

But recently, I stumbled across something strange, which might just change my mind.

The Camera Tool picture quality problem

Take a close look at the images below.  The “How do I look?” on the left (Original) is just plain text, the “How do I look?” on the right is the same text which has been through the Camera Tool.  Can you tell the difference in the picture quality?

Camera Tool Pixelation

It may not be immediately obvious, but take a closer look.  The image using the Camera Tool does not have the same image clarity.  Below, is the same image zoomed in.  Can you see what I mean?  The difference is especially obvious in the curved letters (the “o” looks terrible, very pixelated).

Camera Tool Pixelation

I may be a bit picky, but this makes me not want to use the Camera Tool.  A dashboard is a visual representation of data; therefore, I don’t want to use anything which overly degrades the quality of the visuals.

Download the 100 Excel Macros ebook

100 Excel Macros Book

  • Contains 100 Excel VBA macros
  • Learn VBA by following along with the example codes
  • Apply to your macros, automate Excel, save time.

Download the ebook today!

Click the button below to subscribe, you’ll gain access to the subscriber area in which you can download the ebook.

Download Icon (on mid-green background)

The Camera Tool picture quality solution . . . maybe?

Here is what I stumbled across, selecting a larger range appears to improve the image quality, so in this example, rather than selecting a Cell B4 (as I did for Image #1), select Cells B4 – B34 before using Camera Tool.  Image #2 below is using the much larger selection area  Do you notice a difference now?

Camera Tool Pixelation

Here is the zoomed in image.

Camera Tool Pixelation

In Image #2, the text appears a little bolder than the original, but it is certainly less pixelated than Image #1.  This is much more usable.  To crop the oversized image down to right size, click the image, then select Picture Tools -> Format -> Crop from the Ribbon.

There you have it, by selecting a larger range the image quality improves.  Why? No idea!  Is this quality improvement enough . . . I think so.

Other solutions?

Have you got a workaround for this which gets crystal clear images? If so, please share, I would really like to know.

Don’t forget:

If you’ve found this post useful, or if you have a better approach, then please leave a comment below.

Do you need help adapting this to your needs?

I’m guessing the examples in this post didn’t exactly meet your situation.  We all use Excel differently, so it’s impossible to write a post that will meet everybody’s needs.  By taking the time to understand the techniques and principles in this post (and elsewhere on this site) you should be able to adapt it to your needs.

But, if you’re still struggling you should:

  1. Read other blogs, or watch YouTube videos on the same topic.  You will benefit much more by discovering your own solutions.
  2. Ask the ‘Excel Ninja’ in your office.  It’s amazing what things other people know.
  3. Ask a question in a forum like Mr Excel, or the Microsoft Answers Community.  Remember, the people on these forums are generally giving their time for free.  So take care to craft your question, make sure it’s clear and concise.  List all the things you’ve tried, and provide screenshots, code segments and example workbooks.
  4. Use Excel Rescue, who are my consultancy partner.   They help by providing solutions to smaller Excel problems.

What next?
Don’t go yet, there is plenty more to learn on Excel Off The Grid.  Check out the latest posts:

3 thoughts on “Solving the Camera Tool image quality problem?

  1. Mitchell Allen says:


    I use the camera tool often and never paid attention to the image quality. At least now, if it does become a problem, I’ll have your suggestion to try fixing it.

    I have an unscientific explanation for this behavior. As someone who has made dozens of profile pictures over the years, I noticed that the online cropping tools perform EXACTLY as you have described in the paragraph on cropping. The secret is to realize that most of those tools RESIZE the cropped portion to fit their defined dimensions.

    Clearly (pun intended), it is better to force the resize DOWN, rather than up. UP=pixelation, DOWN=compaction, which may explain the bolder sharper look.

    So, when you suggest using a larger range, I think the camera resizes down.

    This is making me want to do some experimenting.



  2. SM says:

    I have found the fix for this issue!

    As Mitchel above notes, this is a resizing issue.

    After making the picture, resize it. First make sure each dimension is 100%. Then lock aspect ratio and bump it up one percent at a time. After a few bumps – it looks perfect!

    Incidentally, this also solved a problem I was having on excel 365 where I could not interact with the picture after placing it. If I immediately resize it upon creation, it behaves normally going forward.

    • Excel Off The Grid says:

      Thanks SM – I think you’ve solved it. It appears that after pasting the image, Excel resizes the image slightly. Good work 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *