When I export my numbers spreadsheet with photos in the column the photos do not transfer when I import it into excel. How can I do this?

  • What are you trying to do with pictures in a spreadsheet?
    – user479
    Aug 25, 2011 at 22:11
  • 1
    I have the same problem. I am making a photo directory. I am trying to export it to excel with the photos so that others can edit it too.
    – user13806
    Nov 17, 2011 at 18:09

2 Answers 2


There are two ways that an image can exist in Numbers.app, to my knowledge:

  1. Within a cell (in a table) - here, the cell has an "Image Fill";
  2. "On top of" the table.

Excel doesn't support option 1.

If you drag an image file into a Numbers spreadsheet, you'll get option 1: the image will be inserted within a cell.

Instead, in Numbers, use the Insert > Choose… menu and select the image file. You'll then get option 2, which is correctly exported to .xls format in my limited testing.

  • This also works on Numbers version 13.0. Although the image got a little bit displaced in excel export. It was better than nothing.
    – Mohsen
    Jun 29, 2023 at 19:37

I exported to PDF, and then use the "Export to Excel" function in the Adobe Acrobat app to convert the PDF back into Excel. It preserved the image fill nicely.

Note that Adobe Acrobat is a paid app that's part of the Adobe Suite subscriptions.

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