2011-07-25 09:50:31Need Excel.Graphics help!
Robert Way


Hey all! Was hoping someone could help me out here. I'm trying to get my figures done to be submitted for a publication and I did all my graphs (10 of them) in excel (I know, dumb dumb) and now I have realized that there is no easy way to export them. The problem is I need to export my graphs as 500 to 600 dpi tiffs or .pdfs and I have some that are multipanel (picture a square with 4 panels (a,b,c,d). Excel does not allow you to copy into other programs nicely which are able to do so. I was wondering does anyone have any idea how to be able to make high resolution graphics from excel plots?

Robert Way

2011-07-25 10:00:40This is what I use
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey

I use a freeware program called MWSnap to import graphics (all the graphics in my posts are typically grabbed with it):

MWSnap v. 3.0

MWSnap is a small yet powerful Windows program for snapping (capturing) images from selected parts of the screen. Current version is capable of capturing the whole desktop, a highlighted window, an active menu, or a fixed or free rectangular part of the screen. MWSnap handles 5 most popular graphics formats and contains important graphical tools: a zoom, a ruler, a color picker and a window spy.

MWSnap is free for both commercial and non-commercial use. You are free to put the programs on a CD-ROM, but if you do so please send me a notification (and a copy of the CD, if possible.) And of course spread the program complete with all files. Donations are gladly accepted.

MWSnap has been developed using Borland Delphi.

Selected features

  • 5 snapping modes.
  • Support for BMP, JPG, TIFF, PNG and GIF formats, with selected color depth and quality settings.
  • System-wide hotkeys.
  • Clipboard copy and paste.
  • Printing.
  • Auto-saving, auto-printing.
  • Auto-start with Windows.
  • Minimizing to system tray.
  • An auto-extending list of fixed sizes, perfect for snapping images for icons and glyphs. 
  • A zoom tool for magnifying selected parts of the screen.
  • A ruler tool for measuring screen objects lengths.
  • A color picker showing screen colors with separated RGB parts.
  • Fast picture viewer.
  • Adding frames and mouse pointer images.
  • Multilevel configurable undo and redo.
  • Multilingual versions.
  • Configurable user interface.
  • And more...
2011-07-25 10:01:33Exporting from Excel
John Cook


For all the graphics in the SkS Climate Graphics resource, I export all my Excel graphs as PDFs. To do this:

  • Select File > Print
  • For the Printer Name, select Adobe PDF, select OK
  • This will prompt you for the filename of your PDF

One possible snag - Adobe PDF may not appear in your list of printers. In this case, I think you have to go to adobe.com and download a printer driver. I've not done this - mine appears because I have Adobe Acrobat Professional installed on my computer. So if anyone has links and steps for installing the driver, please post here for the benefit of other SkSers.

2011-07-25 10:08:03
Andy S


I use SnagIt It's only free for 30 days but after that its $50 for a licence. Excellent value, I use it all the time. There's a reasonable drafting/editing package with it as well.

2011-07-25 10:13:54Comment
Robert Way


I downloaded cutepdfwriter because i don't have adobe professional. The screenshot softwares are fine (I have snagit 9) but the problem is that i'm having trouble exporting the screenshots from corel (or whatever else) at a good enough quality and resolution (600 dpi) for publications.

I was wondering how you deal with the blank space around the graph that happens when you print to .pdf
Do you need adobe pro to get rid of that? (Like say if I wanted a .pdf of just the graph) Also how would I combine multiple .pdfs

2011-07-25 10:14:47
Andy S


In the latest Office suite programs you can save as pdf's, like this (screen captured, shrunk to 500 pixels and annotated with SnagIt!:

2011-07-25 10:22:13
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey

SnagIt is really good; used it in the past.  $50 too rich for my blood, considering the needs I have currently vs what MWSnap can do.

That being said, the other suggestions are good, too.

2011-07-25 10:29:29
Andy S


Robert, In SnagIt Help type "dpi" and click on "Image Resolution Effect" and follow the (unclear) instructions. I believe the default is 96 dpi but it seems to accept 600. Not sure if this will help you or not.

2011-07-25 10:32:11
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey

Alternatively, Right-click on the Excel chart, select Chart Window.

Right-Click on the blue header around the box that appears, select Print.

In the Print dialogue box that appears, select the Microsoft Office Document Image Writer, then click on the Properties button.  Select the Advanced tab and make sure the Advanced tab option has the Ouput format selected as TIFF (you can select up to Superfine/300 DPI maximum, though).

Won't get you to 600, but will get you to TIFF.

2011-07-25 13:31:54Comment
Robert Way


Her Daniel,
Actually for me it wouldn't work? But either way Andy S's snagit comment worked great. Thanks everyone. This is the last time i'm using excel for this type of stuff though :P To R i'm migrating!

2011-07-25 15:07:15
Ari Jokimäki


I usually just copy/paste the graph to Paint, which at least in newer Windows versions is able to save in many different file formats. I don't know how the DPI works there, though.

2011-07-26 01:42:30
Julian Brimelow


Pasting into MS "paint" is a useful trick for reducing the file size, but the quality is probably compromised in doing so, even with the newer version.  IMHO, those saving the graphics as .PDFs is probably the best way to go.

I've often used Ecel to make grpahics for journal papers and each time I vow never, ever to do it again...it is is areal pain in the arse if one wishes to generate high res (and consistent!) graphics. The problem is that it is quick and familiar so I keep on making the same mistake.

Anyhow, let us know how it works out.

2011-07-26 01:45:08
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey

Copy/paste to Powerpoint, then export to graphics file format du jour should work as well.

I used to create JPGs that way.  Should work for TIFF and PDF.

2011-07-26 01:47:08


What are some cheap & easy ways to generate graphs?

2011-07-26 04:07:44
Andy S


If you don't already have it, I strongly recommend the freeware IrfanView This program can read and write in every graphics format. I don't use it very often but when other programs let me down, it always comes through.

This isn't a graphics generating program (what Neal is looking for). For that I use PowerPoint and Excel, which is why my graphics are so lame. I keep meaning to master Corel Draw or somesuch.

For mapping, I use Global Mapper, which is wonderful but is relatively costly ($350) and not something anyone would have unless it was for professional purposes. If anyone needs a map transformed from one projection to another or needs a geo-tiff or a digital elevation map, email me.

2011-07-26 04:19:07
John Garrett

I may take Andy up on his offer for maps, so let me make a similar offer for anyone needing a graph or tweaking of a graphic. I usually can convert PDFs into high resolution images and I can take Excel data and produce a variety of graphs. I use Adobe Illustrator, which isn't available to most, but if you have illustration emergency, contact me at garrjohn@gmail.com.