You can improve the look of your Excel spreadsheet and make it more attractive to your audience. The best way to liven it up is to add an Excel background image. This article will show you several different ways to do this.
You can use an image as a background, solid color, or pattern. There are basically three ways to do this in Excel: using the page layout, adjusting the transparency of the image, and inserting an object.
- Open the page layout ribbon by clicking Page Layout.
- Find the background in the Page Setup section.
Add a background image for Excel in Excel using page layout
- Open the page layout bar by clicking Page Layout .
- Look within the Page Setup section for Background .
- Click Background and you will see three options: From File, Bing Image Search, and OneDrive-Personal.
- Let’s start by choosing the first option “From File” and selecting an image on your computer.
- Select an image and click “Insert”. See the Background chosen for your data in the screenshot below.
As you scroll down the page or move from side to side, the image repeats over and over in the background.
Be careful with the selected Excel background image. As you can see in the image above, the data is not visible in many areas because the area in the image is dark like the text.
You have several options. You can change the color of the text and make it bold.
Remember, your data is the centerpiece of your spreadsheet. If the Excel background image makes it difficult to read, you are weakening the influence of your information.
This is the downside of using background images. You don’t want the background to get in the way of your data.
Another disadvantage is that the data becomes smaller as the table is scaled down, while the image size remains relatively the same.
As you zoom in, the text becomes larger and the image remains relatively stable.
The Excel background image does not follow the data, but remains proportional to it. Let’s use the second option to add a background.
First, remove the old one by choosing Page Layout> Remove Background.
The second option is to insert an image from Bing Image Search. This is often the best option because you may not have the best image on your computer.
Since this table contains financial information in different countries, let’s search for images with maps.
By default, the search only shows Creative Commons images. These are images that have been uploaded to the Internet for sharing.
Click the filter icon to see only the sizes, types, layouts and colors of the image, and choose the ones you like best.
See screenshot below for map background image. I have made the black text bold to make it stand out more.
The background can be visually appealing, but you must be careful not to make the text unreadable.
When you insert an Excel background image using this method, the image is not displayed when printed.
Therefore, it is only useful when you are showing your spreadsheet to other participants in the presentation and want to get their attention.
Insert a picture and set its transparency
Make sure you are on the Home tab and choose Insert> Pictures.
Select an image on your computer and click Insert. Please note that the image is not a background image. It floats on top of the table data.
You can move and resize the image around the spreadsheet by positioning the cursor over one of the circles around the edges and dragging it.
The advantage of inserting an Excel background image instead of adding a background is that you can adjust the transparency. If your spreadsheet is very long, this method may not be the most convenient.
Start by clicking the image in the upper left corner of your table. Then drag the image so that it covers all the data.
Adjust the transparency by clicking on the image. Then go to the Image Format tab> Transparency> Image Transparency Options.
Add transparencies to the image so that it is in the background and the data is behind the data. Move the Transparency switch to the right until the data is clear and easy to read.
This method uses an inserted image that behaves like a background image and is displayed when printed.
Insert Object into Excel
If your spreadsheet is very long, the previous method can be cumbersome. Inserting an object might be the best option.
- First, click Insert on the ribbon menu.
- Then click Shapes. A drop-down menu opens next to the shapes.
- Select the shape by clicking on it. We will use a rectangular shape. Using the mouse, drag the shape onto the spreadsheet to create it.
- Then resize it by dragging the round buttons around the shape until it covers all of your data. Right-click the shape and choose Format Shape.
- From the menu, choose Fill> Picture or Texture Fill> Paste (under Image Source). Insert an image from a file, online images or from icons.
- Let’s select a texture fill. In the Format Shape pane, select Picture or Texture Fill. Then click the drop-down menu next to Texture and select the one you want to use.
- The texture will fill the shape and cover your data. Use the slider next to the transparency to set the percentage that allows the data to be displayed behind the texture. In the screenshot below, we have used 75% transparency.
With this method, the background will be displayed when printed.
When adding a background to an Excel spreadsheet, keep in mind that being able to read the data clearly is vital.
Adjusting the transparency of the background and changing the color or style of the font can improve the readability of your data while adding a little flair to your spreadsheet.
Have you had trouble adding a background image in Excel – or perhaps you have some advice on how to add other background functions? Join the conversation and let us know in the comments below.