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Converting Charts to GIF Files

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Converting Charts to GIF Files.

Conrad has an Excel chart that he would like to share with others. He's determined that the best way for him to do this is to share it as a GIF image file. He isn't sure how to create a GIF file from an Excel chart, however.

There are a couple of things you can do to get the file you want. If you only need to create a GIF file once in a while, the best be would be to simply use a graphics program. For instance, you could follow these simple steps:

  1. Start a graphics program such as Paint.
  2. Switch back to Excel and display your chart as you normally would.
  3. Right-click the chart and choose Copy from the resulting Context menu. This copies the chart to the Clipboard.
  4. Switch to the graphics program.
  5. Press Ctrl+V to paste the chart into the graphics program.
  6. Make any changes to the image that you want.
  7. Save the image as a GIF file.

If you prefer, you could modify these steps a bit (well, steps 2 and 3) to capture an entire screen instead of just the chart. This allows you to size the chart any way you want prior to capture, even filling the entire screen, if desired. To capture the screen, just press the PrtScrn button on your keyboard, which places the screen capture in the Clipboard. You can then use steps 4 through 7 to put the screen into Paint and crop it or make other edits you need.

If you need to save your charts as GIF files quite often, then the best solution is to use a macro. The following simple macro saves the currently selected chart as a GIF file in the same directory in which the current workbook is stored.

Sub SaveChartAsGIF()
    Dim sFileName As String
    sFileName = ThisWorkbook.Path & "\" & ActiveChart.Name & ".gif"
    ActiveChart.Export Filename:=sFileName, FilterName:="GIF"
End Sub

The use of the Export method to save out charts is detailed in this Microsoft Knowledgebase article:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/163103

The article indicates that it is written for Excel 97, but the coding will work just fine with all versions of Excel that use VBA.

If you want a more full-featured macro approach, this article on Jon Peltier's site is quite helpful:

http://peltiertech.com/WordPress/enhanced-export-chart-procedure/

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9302) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Converting Charts to GIF Files.

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