It’s A Snap To Use The Camera Tool In Excel

In this tutorial we are going to learn how to use the Camera Tool in Excel. It’s a great way to “watch” another area of your workbook, or another workbook that the current sheet you are on may impact. I learned about this from a blog post from Mynda Treacy from myonlinetraininghub.com. So let’s see how this Camera Tool works in Excel.

You can download the file here and follow along. If you get a preview, look for the download arrow in the upper right hand corner.

On Sheet 1 of this workbook I have a list of Travel and Marketing Expenses:

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On Sheet 2 I have a very simple Income Statement to which the Travel and Marketing Expenses are tied:

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I want to be able to do some “what-ifs” with the Travel and Marketing Expenses to see how the affect the Income statement, but don’t want to have to keep switching back and forth between the two worksheets (or if it was on another workbook, even worse!) to see the results. To solve this I can use the Camera tool that’s built into Excel.

It’s not on the Ribbon, so you’ll need to add it to the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT). Just click on the down arrow at the end of the QAT and choose More Commands:

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Next, select Commands Not In The Ribbon from the left side of the window:

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Then scroll down to find the Camera option, click Add to add it to the QAT, and now you’ll see it added to that Toolbar:

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Now, all I need to do is highlight the Income Statement from Sheet 2, click on the Camera Tool, then select an area on Sheet 1 and Excel will embed an Object that is linked to the range that I highlighted on Sheet 2:

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Notice up in the Formula Bar that when the Camera Tool object is selected, it shows the range from Sheet 2 that is being reviewed. Since that’s the case, any changes I make to the expenses on Sheet 1 will automatically be reflected on Sheet 2 and subsequently will show in the Camera Tool object we just put on Sheet 1.

Since it’s an object, I can move it, resize it, or rotate it, just like any other object in Excel. And anything I do to the original data on Sheet 2 will be reflected in the Camera Tool object:

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Even if I do any formatting to the original data, that will show up in the Camera Tool object:

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Another great use for the Camera Tool might be a Dashboard. When you are building one, if you need a certain section of another worksheet to be inserted into your Dashboard and you need to be able to size it to fit into a specific area, this could be just the ticket!.

Try this tool and think about various ways you feel you can use it in one of your Workbooks. Drop a comment below and let me know what creative ways you think you can use this flexible tool from Excel.

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