Earlier this week Microsoft released a new feature to users on their Beta Insiders channel. It’s called Place Picture in Cell.

Simply put, it enables you to quickly and easily insert an image into a cell. Unlike the IMAGE function that was added to Excel last year, this method lets you insert an image from local storage.

Don’t see the feature in your Excel? Even if you are on the Beta Channel, you might not have this feature. Microsoft seem to make new features available to only a percentage of those on the Beta Channel and it’s random as to whether you’re in the have’s or have not’s.

In addition, it appears that access to a Beta feature is “per device” not “per person/M365 account”. I have 5 installations of MS Office…

  • Office for Mac installed on 2 iMacs
  • Office for Windows installed on 2 Virtual Machines running on said iMacs
  • Office for Windows running on a Windows laptop

Out of those 5 installations, 4 are on the Beta Channel. Out of those 4, I only have access to this new feature on one device. Luckily it’s the device that I use to record my videos on.

“What happens if you insert an image into a cell on one computer and then open the file on another computer that doesn’t have the feature available?” was a question that came to my mind.

So I tested it. The file opened without any compatibility warnings and the image was displayed in the cell. This led me to believe that the images are saved as part of the file as opposed to being “linked to” their source, something that was backed up by a) the formula bar not displaying a formula and b) being able to delete/rename/move the JPG file that I had inserted and the image not disappearing from the cell.

However, as a final test I opened the file on my Windows laptop which is currently not participating in the Beta Channel. The file opened without any compatibility warnings but the cell where I had inserted the image displayed #UNKNOWN.

Have you got access to this feature yet? Even if you haven’t, is it something that you might find useful and be able to use? Let me know in the comments below or in the comments on YouTube.