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How to Convert Excel Charts into High Resolution Images

Microsoft Excel is widely used to generate graphs and to analyse data due to its simple graphical user interface. Have you ever tried to convert the charts into images? If yes, you might have used "Print Screen" feature to easily convert the charts into images. However most of the scientific journals require the images in high resolution TIFF format. So in this post we will look at how to convert Microsoft Excel Charts/Graphs easily into high resolution images.

This can be easily achieved by installing the XL Toolbox for Microsoft Excel. The important feature that I like the most is the ability to export multiple charts at the same time (i.e. all the charts can be exported as a single image without the background contents and gridlines). Also you can add any graphic elements to the chart and export it by grouping them into a single figure.

Some of the features included in this toolbox are,
  • File formats: TIFF, PNG, EMF.
  • Color spaces: Black & white, grayscale, RGB and CMYK.
  • Color management: Available for chart export.
  • Resolution: Any (within reasonable limits).
  • Layout: When multiple graphs are exported, their layout is preserved. 

Now lets see how to use this tool:

Firstly you need to download this tool and install it in your computer.

Then open the Excel document that you want to export and you will find a new tab called "TL Toolbox" as shown in the following figure.

Then select the chart you want to export and then click on the "TL Toolbox" tab. You will find an "Export" button as shown in the above image. When you click on that you will see a drop down list with different options as shown  in the above image. Then click "Export for Publication" from that list. This will open a window as shown in the following image.
Some of the setting:
  • Export what: this option provides which graphs you want to export.
  • Print size: you can select the print size; by ticking the "keep aspect ratio" you can change one dimension and it will automatically change other dimension. Then press the "Apply now" button.
  • File type: You can select the output image file type.
  • Bitmap settings: You can specify the "Resolution" and the "Colour space" 
Now press "Export" button and save the image by selecting the desired location in your computer.
XL Toolbox 

Update 25th June 2014: Latest version of XL_Toolbox_6.52 included.
Update 27th August 2014: Latest version of XL_Toolbox_6.53 included.
Update 20th May 2015: Latest version of XL_Toolbox_6.60 included.

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  1. Replies
    1. Unfortunately this toolbox doesn't support Mac. See the following response from the developer,

      Daniel’s XL Toolbox will not run on Office for Mac OS. A lot of its functionality depends on the Windows operating system. Since I do not have access to Mac OS and Office for Mac, there will be no development of a Mac version in the foreseeable future. If someone wants to port the Toolbox to Mac, they are welcome to fork the project. I will be happy to assist. ~ Daniel

  2. If a figure is plotted with a statistical software such as Statistica running on Windows, how can XL Toolbox be used to convert it into high resolution image?

    1. I don't think this toolbox can be used with any other packages, as it is a plugin developed specifically for Microsoft Excel.


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