Using Pictures to Create Info-Graph Charts

I’ve been playing around with using pictures in my Excel info-graphics. I rarely use pictures in charts, but with an info-graphic, it seems like pictures could be appropriate for this type of visualization.

Here are a couple of examples I pulled together to illustrate the kinds of things you could do.

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In this example, I created a waffle chart and then filled the two data series with their own pictures.

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In this example, I use a simple bar chart and then fill each series with a picture.

Note how Excel crops the last picture to accurately represent the percentages.

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To get this type of effect, take these actions:

  • Create your chart as normal
  • Click the target data point so that only that data point is selected
  • Right-click and select the Format Data Point
  • In the Format Data Point dialog box/task pane go to the Fill options
  • Select the option for “Picture or texture fill”
  • Click the Fill button
  • Choose the desired picture file
  • Choose the how you want the picture displayed

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You can choose to have the picture shown as:

Stretch: The selected picture will stretch to fill the data point.

Stack: Excel will repeatedly stack the picture until it approximately fills the data point.

Stack and Scale with: Excel stays true to the scale you specify; going so far as to actually crop the last picture if needed.

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Feel free to download the sample file and try it for yourself.

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8 thoughts on “Using Pictures to Create Info-Graph Charts

  1. Jeff

    I’ve seen that fill with pictures there for years and never considered it. Great! Tip… very cool.

  2. Dave Bruns

    Pretty cool. I had no idea you could get Excel to plot pictures in a chart like this. I’d seen the option, but always figured it would be a visual disaster. Your info-graphics look pretty spiffy.

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