Inserting a picture in Google Sheets is a simple copy and paste, right? There’s more than one way to skin a cat, though!
Everyone knows they can insert images in Microsoft Word. Some might even be aware of how possible it is to insert images into Google Docs, the Microsoft Word equivalent.
However, did you know that you could insert pictures on Google Sheets as well, which is the Google version of Microsoft Excel? It’s true. You can use it to insert logos or “watermarks” on your spreadsheet presentations for the sake of branding.
How to Insert Picture in Google Sheets
This tutorial exists to teach you to insert pictures in google sheets. Furthermore, you have many options to choose from in terms of image insertion or upload to Google Sheets.
Method 1: Use the Insert Menu
Step 1: Open a spreadsheet. Any spreadsheet. Make a new one or open an existing one.
Step 2: Select the cell you want to place the inserted image on. Let’s say we go with A1 on this relatively blank spreadsheet. Now click the “Insert” menu then select “Image” like so.
The “Image” submenu has two options available:
- Insert an image in the cell
- Insert an image over the cells
The “Insert an image in the cell” makes the image part of the spreadsheet, as opposed to “over the cell” which has the image seemingly stuck in a separate layer from the spreadsheet itself.
When the image is in the cell, you can’t also place text inside the cell. The image now occupies that cell exclusively. For the purposes of simplicity, let’s go with the first option.
Step 3: After selecting “Insert an image in the cell“, the Image dialog box should appear asking you where to get the image from.
You have multiple choices to choose from. You can upload the image from your local drive C: or HDD. You can also move an image from one of your folders then drag them to this dialog box to open the image.
You can even use your webcam to get a snapshot of your face or whatever it is you’re holding in front of your PC webcam!
Ergo, you can even get images:
- On your local HDD
- Off the web by their URL
- By your Photos or Google Drive uploads
- By Google Image Search
- Using a snapshot from your webcam
Step 4: Let’s go with uploading a local file you’ve saved in your hard drive. Just click “Open” or “Select” then voila. You now have an image on your cell after choosing either option.
The image has been uploaded but it’s rather tiny.
To resize the picture, you need to resize the cell itself since it’s now residing in the cell and its size depends on the cell’s proportions.
Method 2: Copy and Paste
Step 1: Copy a picture off of the web by searching through Google Images and doing a right-click off of it to bring up the menu where you can select “Copy image“.
Don’t forget that the terms of usage for non-stock images apply.
If it’s fair use (used free for lectures and commentary), it’s okay. If used for profit, you’re liable to get sued if the original maker or photographer of the picture catches wind of it.
Step 2: Go to your spreadsheet and select a cell you want to place the image on (A2 or right below the earlier image). From there, use “Ctrl + V” to paste the image. Or you can use the “Edit” menu to select the “Paste” option.
Step 3: The image is now pasted unto your spreadsheet, but in another layer above the sheet. Google Sheets defaults to “Insert an image over the cells” because that was the original default. The “Insert an image in the cell” is a relatively new feature.
Resize accordingly like you would with a picture on Google Docs or Microsoft Word. Click and drag the squares on the corners of the picture to shrink or enlarge it.
To avoid having the picture overlap any tables you got, just resize the cell it’s supposed to be pasted on as big as the picture itself. When you unselect the cell and the picture, it should stick with the cell like an inset image inserted in a cell too.
Method 3: Use URL to Insert Image
Step 1: Remember how you copied an image off of the web by bringing up the right-click menu? You can also use the technique to copy the URL of an image.
Just right-click then select “Copy image address” on the image you wish to paste on Google Sheets.
Step 2: Again, go to your Google Sheets spreadsheet, select a new cell to insert an image onto (A3 at this point), and click the “Insert” menu then select “Image“. This will bring up that familiar Image dialog box.
Go to the “By URL” toggle and paste your image URL or address there. Once the image has been retrieved, click “INSERT IMAGE” to complete the process.
Notice the warning saying “Only select images that you have confirmed that you have the license to use”?
That’s Google covering for itself. You can use copyrighted images under fair use, but for anything for-profit or outside of fair use, it’s best to use your own company logos and imagery or acquire stock images from places like Flickr.
Step 3: Again, the inserted image comes off as a tiny postage stamp or thumbnail because the image size is tied to the cell size. Resize the cell to get a better view of the image.
Like in the case of the A1 picture or any picture inserted in the cell, the proportions of the image is directly tied to the proportions of the cell.
What Else Could Be Said?
The images you can add to Google Sheets should be under 50 megabytes in size. Typically, it should also be in PNG, JPG, or GIF format. Don’t forget to follow the guidelines for image usage too (if you don’t own the image you took from the web, don’t use it beyond the limits of fair use).
Anything outside of the formats mentioned above—such as WEBP and SVG file formats—are not supported by Google Sheets. BMP used to be a common format for images in the 1990s but not so in 2022!
- “Add an image to a spreadsheet“, Google.com Support, Retrieved July 1, 2022
- Prolific Oaktree, “Google Sheets – Use Images in your Spreadsheet“, YouTube, April 1, 2019
- Resultant, “It’s now easier to insert images in cells in Google Sheets“, YouTube, April 1, 2019
- Spreadsheet Point, “How to Insert an Image in a Cell in Google Sheets“, YouTube, April 11, 2017
- “Using the Google Sheets Image in Cell Option + 2 Easy Tips“, SpreadsheetPoint.com, April 27, 2022
- Google Workspace Updates, “It’s now easier to insert images in cells in Google Sheets“, Workspace Updates Google Blog, March 19, 2019