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Use the Excel camera tool, or create a linked picture in Word or PowerPoint
Part two of a three-part series of blogs

This blog shows options for creating a webcam focused on one particular area of an Excel workbook! You can do this either by pasting the Excel range into PowerPoint or Word as a linked picture, or by using the Excel camera tool.

  1. The Excel Camera tool, and pasting to Word and PowerPoint
  2. Copying/pasting live images within Excel (the camera tool) (this blog)
  3. Creating a live link to Excel from Word or PowerPoint

Posted by Andy Brown on 25 April 2018

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Copying/pasting live images within Excel (the camera tool)

In order to get this to work, it's useful to get the camera tool visible (although as we'll see at the bottom of the page, it's not actually necessary to use the camera!).

Displaying the camera tool

The first thing to do is to customise your quick access toolbar to display the camera tool.  To do this, first right-click on the quick access toolbar:

Customise quick access toolbar

Right-click on the quick access toolbar at the top of Excel, and choose the option shown.

Now choose to show All Commands:

All commands option

Choose this option (the camera tool is not on any standard menu).

Find the Camera tool, and double-click on it to transfer it to the tools shown in your quick access toolbar:

The camera tool

The quickest way to select this is actually to click once in the long list of all the tools, then type (quickly) the first few letters of the tool you want to select - in this case C-A-M.


You can now confirm your choice and choose OK:

Confirm your choice

The Camera tool is in the list of those to be displayed.



Camera tool in toolbar

The camera tool, waiting to be used.


Using the camera tool

Now that you have this tool in your quick access toolbar, here's how to create a webcam onto part of your workbook.  Select the thing you want to show on your dashboard sheet:

Worksheet selected

Select the cells for which you want to take a live picture. If you want to show a chart, select the cells surrounding it (as here).

Click on the camera tool:

Camera tool click

Choose to take a live photo.


Go to where you want the live photo to appear:

Mouse pointer cross

Your mouse pointer should now be a small cross.


Click and drag to form the outline of where the picture should go:

Resizing photo

Although the proportions of the image appear fixed, you can resize it afterwards.

Testing the results of using the camera

Go to the source worksheet, and make any change at all (including entering new numbers or formulae):

Changing format

Here I've changed the colour of the Orangs data series from grey to red.


When you look at your pasted picture, you can see it has been automatically updated:

Pasted picture

The picture is like a webcam targeting the source cells, and showing their latest contents.

Doing the same thing without the camera

The camera tool is actually a bit of a red herring.  Clicking on it automatically does two things:

  • It copies the source data; then
  • It pastes it onto the target sheet as a linked picture.

You can do both of these things yourself!  For the example above, here's how to create a live photo without using the camera tool.  First copy the source data:

Copy the data

Copy the part of the screen you want to show in your report.


Go to your target worksheet, and choose this option:

Paste special

Choose to paste the selected cells as a linked picture (so they will appear as a picture - as the name suggests - which is linked to the original source data).


Choosing this option actually makes it clearer what's going on!

  1. The Excel Camera tool, and pasting to Word and PowerPoint
  2. Copying/pasting live images within Excel (the camera tool) (this blog)
  3. Creating a live link to Excel from Word or PowerPoint
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