6 Ways to Crop an Image in Microsoft Excel

If you quickly need to crop an image without using a graphics designing tool, you can do it in Microsoft Excel. Read this guide until the end to learn all the tricks for cropping pictures in Excel.

In today’s data-driven world, Microsoft Excel stands as an indispensable tool for professionals like you in various fields. From complex calculations to insightful data visualizations, Excel offers a multitude of functionalities to enhance your workflow.

However, did you know that it’s not just about numbers and tables? Excel also lets you work with images, and one essential skill to have in your Excel toolkit is image cropping.

Whether you’re creating reports and presentations, or simply want to trim an image to fit within a cell, understanding how to crop an image in Excel can significantly improve your document’s visual appeal. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll take you through the step-by-step process of image cropping in Excel.

What and Where Is the Crop Tool in Excel?

The Crop tool in Excel is a part of the Size commands block. It’s available on the Picture Format tab. It’ll only be available when you add an image to your Excel worksheet.

The Excel Crop tool has the following features:

  • Crop: Enables you to crop image margins.
  • Crop to Shape: This lets you fit the inserted image into a shape object in Excel.
  • Aspect Ratio: Changing the image aspect ratio to Portrait, Landscape, and Square mode.
  • Fill: It resizes the picture on the Excel worksheet so that the image fits the whole image object space.
  • Fit: This tool edits the image size so that it fills the entire image object space without changing the aspect ratio.

There are three major ways to access the Crop tool in Excel and these are as mentioned below:

From the Right-Click Menu

Cropping an image in Excel
Cropping an image in Excel
  1. Select the image on your worksheet.
  2. Right-click on it.
  3. Click on the Crop button just above the right-click context menu.
Crop handles on an image in Excel
Crop handles on an image in Excel
  1. A few black crop handles will show up on the image on the corners and sides of the image.

When cropping, you can use the following crop controls:

  • Drag from the corners to crop the image from the two sides.
  • Drag the side crop handle to crop the image from one side.
  • Press Ctrl on the keyboard and then drag either the side or corner crop handle to crop equally from the opposite sides.

On the Format Picture Navigation Panel

Manual cropping tool on Excel
Manual cropping tool on Excel
  1. Select the picture and right-click.
  2. Click on the Format Picture option at the bottom of the context menu.
  3. The Format Picture navigation panel will show up on the right side.
  4. There, click on the fourth tab or the Picture tab.
  5. The fourth option on the Picture tab is the Crop tool.
  6. Expand the Crop menu to find various manual cropping options.

From the Excel Ribbon Menu

Crop tool on Excel ribbon menu
Crop tool on Excel ribbon menu
  1. Highlight the image on the Excel worksheet.
  2. Excel will automatically open and select the Picture Format tab on the ribbon menu.
  3. Go to the Size commands block on the Picture Format tab.
  4. Click the Crop button to activate the crop handles.
  5. Alternatively, you can click the Crop drop-down menu to find advanced cropping options like Crop to Shape, Aspect Ratio, etc.

Reasons to Crop an Image in Excel

There are several reasons to crop an image in Excel, and it can be a valuable skill for various purposes. Here are some of the key reasons to crop an image in Excel:

  1. Crop images to remove unwanted or distracting elements, resulting in cleaner, more visually appealing documents.
  2. Crop images to fit them neatly within cells or designated areas, optimizing space on your spreadsheet.
  3. Crop images to focus on specific details, making it easier for readers to understand the content.
  4. You can also crop images and delete the cropped portions to reduce the size of the final workbook.
  5. Crop images to align them with other elements on the worksheet, ensuring a consistent and professional look.
  6. Crop images to create custom shapes or dimensions that align with your organization’s branding or specific design requirements.
  7. If you don’t have access to a graphic designing tool but need to crop an image, Excel is your best bet.
  8. Crop images to tailor them to your specific reports, presentations, or worksheets, enhancing their overall impact.

Cropping the Margins of an Image in Excel

This is the general cropping method. You just need to right-click on the image and choose Crop to activate this mode.

Cropping an image from the margins
Cropping an image from the margins

Now, you can drag the side crop handles from the edges to the center of the image. It enables you to reduce the margins of the image as shown in the above screenshot.

Cropped image in Excel
Cropped image in Excel

When you’re done with the cropping process, click the Crop button again. This should resize the image aligning it with the crop overlay.

Crop Into a Shape in Excel

The Crop to Shape feature in Excel is a powerful tool that allows you to crop an image into a predefined shape. This gives your Excel worksheet images a customized and visually appealing look.

With this feature, you can quickly and easily convert a rectangular image into various shapes such as circles, triangles, stars, arrows, and more.

It’s especially useful when you want to create eye-catching visuals for reports, presentations, or other documents.

The Crop to Shape function lets you use the following Excel shape objects:

  • Rectangles
  • Basic Shapes
  • Equation Shapes
  • Flowchart
  • Block Arrows
  • Callouts
  • Stars and Banners

Here’s a step-by-step guide to using the Crop to Shape feature in Excel:

Crop to shape an image to a ribbon
Crop to shape an image to a ribbon
  1. Select the image you want to crop using the Crop to Shape feature.
  2. Go to the Picture Format tab on the ribbon at the top of your Excel window.
  3. In the Size group, locate and click the Crop button. A dropdown menu will appear.
  4. From the dropdown menu, select Crop to Shape.
  5. A submenu will appear with various shape options.
  6. Choose the shape you want to crop the image into by clicking on it, for example, Ribbon.
  7. Excel will automatically crop the image into the selected shape.
Editing a cropped image
Editing a cropped image
  1. You can further adjust the size and position of the cropped image by clicking and dragging the shape’s handles.
  2. These are small yellow dots on the edges of the cropped image.
  3. Once you are satisfied with the cropped image, click outside the image to apply the changes.

Crop to Fit or Fill a Shape in Excel

Suppose the picture object box is larger than the image you’ve imported. In this situation, you can use the Fit or Fill function of the Crop tool. Here’s how:

Crop and fit in Excel
Crop and fit in Excel
  1. Select the image you want to fit or fill within a picture box.
  2. Click the Crop drop-down menu and choose Fit.
  3. Excel will enlarge the image to fill the picture box as much as possible while preserving the aspect ratio.
Crop and fill in Excel
Crop and fill in Excel
  1. Alternatively, you can click Fill.
  2. In this mode, Excel will enlarge the picture to fit the entire picture box and crop image areas falling outside the picture box.

Crop to Fit an Aspect Ratio in Excel

The Aspect Ratio function of the Crop in Excel allows you to crop an image while maintaining its original proportions or aspect ratio.

This means that when you crop the image, it will retain its width-to-height ratio, preventing distortion.

This feature comes in handy when there are certain aspect ratio requirements for the image you’re cropping. For example, you need to resize the image to a 16:9 aspect ratio in the landscape mode. Excel can help you achieve this.

To use this feature, highlight the image on your worksheet. Now, click Crop and hover your mouse cursor over the Aspect Ratio field. Now, simply choose the aspect ratio you want.

How to Manually Crop an Image Using the Crop Tool

Suppose, you need to crop an image in Excel with unique values for various cropping functions like picture position, offset X, offset Y, and crop position.

You can do such a custom cropping of an image by using the Crop tool in the Format Picture navigation panel. Here are the instructions you can follow:

Manual cropping in Excel
Manual cropping in Excel
  1. Select the picture you need to crop using custom values for the crop functions.
  2. Now, right-click and choose Format Picture at the bottom of the context menu.
  3. The Format Picture panel should open on the right side.
  4. Click the Picture tab.
  5. Expand the Crop menu.
  6. You should now see various values for the following image properties:
    • Picture position
    • Crop position
Entering values for crop functions
Entering values for crop functions
  1. Enter the values you need in the final cropped image in the above fields.
  2. Excel will resize the selected email in real time.

Crop an Image in Excel Using Excel VBA

Excel VBA enables you to automate the image cropping process in Excel. Using this method, you can crop thousands of images in a flash. All you need to do is input the image details in an Excel VBA script and VBA does the rest. This method is particularly suitable when you frequently crop images on your Excel workbook.

Create and save an Excel VBA script
Create and save an Excel VBA script

Find below the Excel VBA script as well as the steps to implement the code in your worksheet:

  1. Open the Excel VBA Editor tool by pressing Alt + F11 on the keyboard.
  2. Click the Insert button and choose Module.
  3. In the new module that pops up within the Excel VBA backstage, copy and paste this code:
Sub CropImage()

'Declare variables
Dim ws As Worksheet
Dim shp As Shape

'Set the worksheet object
Set ws = Worksheets(2)

'Loop through all shapes in the worksheet
For Each shp In ws.Shapes

'If the shape is a picture, crop it
If shp.Type = msoPicture Then

'Crop the picture by 10 points on all sides
shp.PictureFormat.CropLeft = 10
shp.PictureFormat.CropTop = 10
shp.PictureFormat.CropRight = 10
shp.PictureFormat.CropBottom = 10

End If

Next shp

End Sub
  1. Click the Save button.
  2. Close the Excel VBA Editor tool.
Running an Excel VBA script
Running an Excel VBA script

To run the script, follow these steps:

  1. Bring up the Macro dialog box by pressing Alt + F8 keys.
  2. Choose the CropImage macro.
  3. Click Run to execute the code.

Here are the instructions to customize the script if needed:

  • Worksheets(2): Change it according to the sheet number like Worksheets(1) for Sheet1, and so on.
  • shp.PictureFormat.CropLeft = 10: Change the value in this code element to increase or decrease the cropping margin. The same is applicable for rest of the three code elements, like CropTop, CropRight, and CropBottom.


The image editing capabilities of Excel might be overlooked, but it packs powerful picture editing features including different types of cropping. In Excel, you can use a variety of cropping, like margin, shape, aspect ratio, and so on.

So far, I’ve explained and shown all the popular and common ways of cropping an image in Excel. Besides the manual methods, I’ve also included an automated method using Excel VBA.

You can try these on your own and make your Excel reports more professional. Not to mention, you can reduce the workbook size a lot by cropping images especially when there are tons of pictures in the Excel file.

Did the above methods to crop a picture in Excel help you? Do you know another method that you think would be helpful for others? Write your thoughts in the comment box below.

About the Author

Bipasha Nath

Bipasha Nath

Bipasha is a technical content writer with 10+ years of experience in the technology industry. She previously worked in a SaaS software development company focused on SharePoint, OneDrive, Word, Excel, Word solutions.


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