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: Sorting with Graphics.

Sorting with Graphics

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 30, 2016)


You already know that Excel allows you to place graphics in your worksheets. You may not know, however, that Excel allows you to sort graphics along with the regular data in your tables. For instance, you could create an inventory table that has the requisite part numbers, descriptions, and quantities. You could also include a column that shows a small picture of each inventory item. When you later sort the table, the pictures sort right along with the rest of the data in the table.

If you can't seem to make the graphics sort along with the other data in the table, keep these pointers in mind:

  • The graphics have to be sized so they fit completely within the cell. They cannot be taller or wider than the cell over which you placed them.
  • You should make sure that the sorting function is selecting the column in which your graphics have been placed. You can check this by seeing if the column is selected when you choose the Sort option from the Data menu.

If your graphics still won't sort, the properties of the graphic may have been changed to prohibit sorting. Follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on a graphic image. Excel displays a shortcut menu.
  2. Choose Format Picture from the shortcut menu. Excel displays the Format Picture dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Properties tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Properties tab of the Format Picture dialog box.

  5. Make sure the Don't Move or Size with Cells option is NOT selected. (You can select either of the other two options, but don't choose the third one.)
  6. Click on OK.
  7. Repeat steps 1 through 5 for all the graphics in the column.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2954) 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: Sorting with Graphics.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


Setting the AutoRecover Directory

Excel, by default, periodically writes information to AutoRecover files that can help protect your data in case Excel is ...

Discover More

Unwanted Cover Pages with Print Jobs

When you print a document, do you get more than you bargained for? If you get extra pages printed either before or within ...

Discover More

Searching for a Value Using a Function

Searching for a value using Excel's Find tool is easy; searching for that same value using a formula or a macro is more ...

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Grouping and Ungrouping Objects

When you add multiple graphic objects in a worksheet, it can often be beneficial to group those objects together. Here's ...

Discover More

Flipping a Drawing Object

Don't like the way a drawing object looks? Perhaps flipping the object could help appearances. Excel allows you to flip ...

Discover More

Modifying Axis Scale Labels

You want your chart to display information as clearly and succinctly as possible. Modifying the labels used to indicate ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is six more than 8?

2017-08-15 18:11:54


Hi Allen,

I have 1000s of images in many columns and rows. How do I select the entire worksheet so when I do a custom sort for the columns, all of the images are sorted as well?

I can't manually select 1000+ photos. Please help.

2016-11-15 13:08:59

Beth Hoyle

Thank you for this. When I sort my rows (with graphics inside as you described), the height of the rows does not go along with them (it was said to me that the *data* is resorting, not the actual row's characteristics). It seems that whether I have selected "Move and size with cells" or "Move and don't size", when a row sorts and becomes shorter, the graphic smooshes down to fit into that new row height. Do you know a way that I can sort the rows and have them retain the height that I've given them (which in most cases is defined by the size of my graphic, not by how many lines of text are inside the cells)? Thanks!

This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.