Paste Special – Linked Picture (aka “Camera” in earlier versions of Excel)

As mentioned in my previous post, I am going to talk about another built-in function that is not commonly used (in my limited community)…😛

COPY, PASTE linked picture (aka “Camera”, which is actually available in Excel 2003; not sure if even earlier)

I think the term “Linked Picture” is more descriptive.  Excel 2010 tries to make it more visible by putting it under Paste Special options but I doubt how many users have noticed that…

In short, that is a picture linked with cell reference.  E.g. if you link the picture to B1:E4, whatever fall onto the range B1:E4 will appear on the picture.  See example below:


You may see the linked range in the formula bar.

So what does it do to me?

To me, it’s a handy tool if I want to put  tables of different sizes on the same page.  Actually, it’s quite common in preparing dashboard.

Think about this:

You have create a chart-like table below:


And on Sheet 2, you have a summary table.


What you want is to put them together.  If you simply copy the summary table on Sheet 2 and paste it on top of the table on Sheet 1, you will get this ugly result:


Given the differences in the column width, it could be timing consuming in merging cells in order to display the summary table correctly.

With linked picture, it can be done easily with no hassle in merging cells.  At a glance, you might think that there is a table overlaid on another table.  :)


To achieve this, just a few simple steps would do:

1) Select the range you want to copy, in this case A1:E5 on sheet 2.  Then CTRL C (copy)


2) Right Click the cell where you want to Paste.  In this case, A3 on Sheet 1.


3) Under Paste Special, Select the lower right icon for “Linked Picture”

4) Pls note that when you select the picture, you may see the “Linked Range” in the formula bar.


5) You may now resize/move the “Linked Picture” as if a normal picture in Excel


  • Whatever you change on the linked range, it will show up on the linked picture immediately
  • If you are using Excel 2003 or before, you won’t see “Linked Picture” under Paste Special.  What you can do is to first insert a regular picture.  Then you select the picture and type the range (e.g. “A1:E5”) directly in the formula bar.


  1. the printing quality of a linked picture is not as good as a normal range / table.
  2. Text may be distorted if the size of the linked picture deviated largely from the original cell reference/range
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2 Responses to Paste Special – Linked Picture (aka “Camera” in earlier versions of Excel)

  1. vishwas1980 says:

    Hi , Could you kindly share the example workbook shown .It will be very helpful.thank you


    • MF says:

      Hi vishwas,
      Thanks for your suggestion.
      The truth is I don’t know how to put the file here…🙂
      To cover up this, I would suggest you follow the steps and create the content from scratch. You will experience and learn more in this way. 🙂


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