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. ...

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