Excel chart to hi-res image?

I’ve got an Excel chart that I need in a 1200dpi format as part of a Word document, as per a journal article format. I’m using Windows 7 64bit.

Is there a solution?

Excel charts aren’t technically graphics, are they? I thought they were just internal Office objects – more vector-like than raster – that scale to whatever you print them out on? What happens if you embed the chart in a Word document and save the whole thing as a high-DPI PDF?

ETA: If the journal only accepts Word docs, will they accept one with a directly embedded Excel chart as opposed to a picture of that chart?

You could print the excel selection to XPS and use a converter to produce a jpeg from it.

I can submit a PDF, but the formatting is all messed up when I insert an object. So it needs to be an image.

Just tried a XPS converter, but it had lines through the chart. Any recommendations for a converter?

Preface: graphic designer here.

I’m assuming that you were able to export the Excel file as a PDF…if not, you can, usually via “Print to PDF” (I think you might have to have the full version of Acrobat to do this). If you know anyone with Photoshop, they can open up the PDF and turn it into a standard image format (JPG, etc.) that will then place into your document no problem.

OK, it worked!

If you do turn it into an image, though, make sure it is actually 1200dpi! If you zoom in, it shouldn’t look blurry for a looooooooong time.

I have had the same issue (needed to get from Excel to high quality TIFF) as Excel will only export bitmaps with a resolution of 72dpi. My workaround, using only free software (other than Office), is as follows:

  1. Make chart in Excel
  2. Copy and paste into Word
  3. Save page as PDF (Office 2007 and higher) or print as PDF (using PDF Creator as a postscript printer, for earlier Office versions)
  4. Open PDF in PDF XChange Viewer
  5. Use snapshot tool to select the chart on the page
  6. Export selection as bitmap; select TIFF and choose the required output dpi (it can easily render higher than 1200 dpi)
  7. If necessary, edit the image using GIMP (for example to rescale, reduce dpi, crop more accurately) - for example manuscript central will not accept images greater than 20MP.

This workaround works because the vector format of the original image is preserved in the PDF file, and the chart is effectively ‘blown up’ without loss of quality for export at your required dpi. You can’t do that with a raster (bitmap) image without loss of quality.

I have a similar sort of workaround for .eps although I have not tested that by submission to a journal yet.

IIRC, you can also copy an Excel chart and paste it into Illustrator as a vector graphic. Alternatively, you can drop the data into Illustrator’s own charting application to produce groovy looking charts - though the data handling is pretty basic.

You might be able to avoid the steps above by simply opening the PDF with GIMP. GIMP is pretty feature-packed these days, so if it’s like Photoshop in this respect, it will ask what size you want to rasterize the PDF at when you open it. So, you can rasterize it at any size/resolution that you choose, crop or make any edits as needed, save it out, and you’re done.

Oh, I quite agree. The steps I have suggested are just (in my opinion) the quickest and most user friendly way of getting to the end result. I think if you have never used GIMP before, the import dialogs are not terribly simple, and the rasterization process can take quite a while if you are using a less than modern computer (which many institutional computers seem to be:()

(missed the edit window)
Both PDF XChange Viewer and GIMP can save a TIFF with LZW compression, which many journals request as it reduces file size but is lossless. Microsoft Office Picture Manager can open LZW compressed files but if you edit and save the file it will be uncompressed - so it is best to do any editing within GIMP if you are worried about file size.

Hi Udlander.

Regarding these steps in converting excel chart to a high dpi .tiff image

‘5. Use snapshot tool to select the chart on the page
6. Export selection as bitmap; select TIFF and choose the required output dpi (it can easily render higher than 1200 dpi)’

Is there a way we can just select the chart region and not any extraneous stuff?

If you use PDF XChange Viewer (free) then the snapshot tool (which looks like a camera and makes irritating camera-shutter noises as well) draws a box on the page with adjustable grab handles. It is easy just to select the chart area.

With GIMP, if I remember rightly, you have to import the pdf file at the required resolution, then use the select tool to identify the chart and finally crop to selection.

(I know the thread is 2+ years old…no jokes please)

And, although it’s probably too late: absolutely do not convert it to a JPEG. PNG or TIFF. If you convert it to JPEG, it will look like crap at native resolution.

I resurrect this zombie! I’m using the copy as picture function now, but the resolution seems to be screen resolution. Does anyone know how to adjust the resolution (maybe a registry setting)? Making a pdf then extracting from that is too difficult.

You can try this utility to save high-res graphics right from Excel.

Or copy and paste it to PowerPoint, modify the save-as resolution (up to 307 dpi), then save it as a PNG from there.