Excel distorts image when printing RRS feed

  • Question

  • This issue has been going on with Excel for many years, but it is seriously time for Microsoft to fix it. We are now into Excel 2013 and it is STILL a problem! The issue is that when you place an image in an Excel spreadsheet and then print it (or even print preview it) then it appears squashed. While the width stays the same, the height gets shorter thus changing the ratio of the image. I have this issue on any computer, using any printer. The issue does not happen in Word, only in Excel. Microsoft it's time to get off the pot and fix this issue!
    Wednesday, March 13, 2013 6:00 AM

All replies

  • Hi Warren,

    Thanks for the post, I've also noticed this behavior. And I am trying to involve someone to further look at this issue.

    For now, a probable workaround might be scale the image to 110% before we print them out.

    Max Meng
    TechNet Community Support

    If you have any feedback on our support, please click here
    Thursday, March 14, 2013 5:52 AM
  • Hi Warren and Max,

    I'll follow up and see that this is filed again. I can't guarantee a fix, but I can guarantee to bring it in front of the developer group.


    Thursday, March 14, 2013 2:50 PM
  • Hi Warren,

    On further investigation, I found a report of this issue and a good explanation of why it has not been fixed, and how fixing it would cause other, more serious issues. I'm afraid we won't be able to address it.

    Anita Oakley

    Thursday, March 14, 2013 3:35 PM
  • Hi Anita,

    "Just live with it" is not an acceptable answer. It might help if you shared this new information you uncovered, but more than likely not. This is a very basic piece of functionality that needs to be fixed. Someone needs to put their big boy pants on and tackle this problem head on. It is simply not acceptable that it is still not fixed since Excel 2000 days. Come up with an official workaround or something, but it needs to be resolved one way or another. I am not prepared to live with an answer of "it cannot be done" as that is simply not true.

    Thanks for your efforts,

    Thursday, March 14, 2013 3:50 PM
  • Hi Max,

    Thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately it is not always feasible as I have an image set in the header of my Excel spreadsheets. We use this to create quotes and to make sure that our company logo is in the exact same position on every sheet. I do not know of a way to change the scaling of an image that is in a header - do you know if that can be done?


    Thursday, March 14, 2013 3:53 PM
  • Hi Max,

    Thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately it is not always feasible as I have an image set in the header of my Excel spreadsheets. We use this to create quotes and to make sure that our company logo is in the exact same position on every sheet. I do not know of a way to change the scaling of an image that is in a header - do you know if that can be done?


    Yes, it could be done.

    When editing the header, with the HEADER & FOOTER TOOLS tab actived, click the Format Picture button beside the Picture button, there we can scale the picture in the header.

    Max Meng
    TechNet Community Support

    Friday, March 15, 2013 1:34 AM
  • Cool, thanks for that tip. I will try this out and see how it works for this situation. I was used to managing the custom headers by going through Print Preview to the Page Setup dialog that does not provide these options. I appreciate your workaround. Hopefully now Microsoft will actually fix the problem?!
    Friday, March 15, 2013 1:41 AM
  • Anita, what is the latest on this issue? Has it been addressed yet? Still waiting for someone to explain why this is still an issue after more than 10 years.
    Sunday, March 24, 2013 4:59 PM
  • Warren,

    I have had many problems with graphics in Excel, different problems occur depending on View, default printer (even the same printer with PS and non-generic PCL) and image format. It may be worth experimenting with some of these to see if it makes a difference, especially the image format type between vector and scalar. Metafile formats in particular can cause/fix a problem.

    Maybe Anita knows if any of this will help or be a watse of time?

    Wednesday, April 3, 2013 8:38 AM
  • Hello,

    I have resolved this issue using snap to grid for my graphics (2003 version). I do not know how, but it somehow recalculate size of image or something. After you resize your image to grid, you can switch off snap to grid and move and resize your image as you want it will work.


    Thursday, December 19, 2013 11:00 AM
  • I have many pictures in my Excel spreadsheet and have been frustrated as the pictures would distort when I previewed and also when I saved as PDF. I resolved this issue in Excel 2007 by right-clicking on each and every picture in my excel sheet, click Size and Properties, Properties Tab, click 'Move and Size with cells', close. This is a lot of work since I have so many picutures, but I am SO glad to have found this work-around as this is how I share my product price sheet WITH pictures with my customers. The snap to grid idea above is what gave me the idea. I couldn't find that option. If that is a way to do ALL pictures at once, please advise how to get there in Excel 2007. Thank you!
    Friday, July 18, 2014 5:16 AM
  • When considering the size of the work-around to fix this in the software programming, please consider how much time users spend trying to work around these problems on their own (collectively 10,000+ hours I am sure) vs. how much time it takes the development team to fix the issue (1,000's of hours?). We are all paying for this product, and it is a BASIC piece of functionality (especially from someone like myself using Adobe products on a daily basis). As an employer, it also costs money to pay employees to work around these problems.
    Monday, August 10, 2015 8:53 PM
  • I have exactly this problem with a round logotype being distorted when printing or exporting the sheet as pdf-file.

    This is when using Excel 2013 32-bit version. To my surprise the problem disappeared completely when i tested the very same sheet on a Excel 2013 64-bit version.

    Conclusion is that the problem can be fixed if Microsoft get there  act together and examine why it works on 64-bit but not on 32-bit.



    Wednesday, October 7, 2015 11:16 AM
  • I had the same problem in excel 2010.

    The snap to grid or selecting Move and size with cells didn't work for me and I don't have a 64 bit version of Excel so I found a very simple workaround that I posted elsewhere about changing the Font Theme to Metro or Module. I can't include the link or image but if you google "Shapes/Pictures printing distorted Excel 2007" you should find the thread.

    • Edited by CC_994 Tuesday, July 12, 2016 11:28 PM
    Tuesday, July 12, 2016 11:25 PM
  • A bit late in the game but I may have found a workaround for this problem. When I'm using MACRO's and when I save a worksheet as PDF it works fine, but Workbooks PDF causes all images on my sheets to expand. Actually, it doesn't resize the images, it zooms into them (keeping the rest of the document in the same zoom level).

    So every time I saved a pdf I'd have to zoom in and zoom out and the images would return to normal. So all I did is add a short macro to my print pdf macro to access each page and zoom in and out again to the desired level and this worked.

    Hopefully this will help someone else facing this problem as I found no fix online. The code I used is below:

    Sub PrintPDFEntireWorkbook()
    'turn off screen updating
    Dim Opendialog
    Dim MyRange As Range
        Application.ScreenUpdating = False
        'open dialog and set file type
        Opendialog = Application.GetSaveAsFilename(Sheets("Step 1 Itinerary").Range("F7").Value & " Workbook - " & Format(Now, "yyyy-mm-dd hhmm"), filefilter:="PDF Files (*.pdf), *.pdf", _
                                                   Title:="Save Safari Quotation")
        'if no value is added for file name
        If Opendialog = False Then
            MsgBox "The operation was not successful"
            Exit Sub
        End If
        'create the PDF
        On Error Resume Next
        ActiveWorkbook.ExportAsFixedFormat Type:=xlTypePDF, Filename:=Opendialog, Quality:=xlQualityStandard, _
                IncludeDocProperties:=True, IgnorePrintAreas:=False, OpenAfterPublish:=True
        'error handler
        On Error GoTo 0
    'Code below zooms in and out of every sheet on my page. 
    ActiveWorkbook.Sheets("Step 1 Itinerary").Activate
        ActiveWindow.Zoom = 100
        ActiveWindow.Zoom = 85
    ActiveWorkbook.Sheets("Step 2 Park Fees").Activate
        ActiveWindow.Zoom = 70
        ActiveWindow.Zoom = 85
    ActiveWorkbook.Sheets("Step 3 Lodges").Activate
        ActiveWindow.Zoom = 55
        ActiveWindow.Zoom = 70
        ActiveWindow.Zoom = 85
     ActiveWorkbook.Sheets("Step 4 Extras").Activate
        ActiveWindow.Zoom = 70
        ActiveWindow.Zoom = 85
    ActiveWorkbook.Sheets("Step 5 Review").Activate
        ActiveWindow.Zoom = 70
        ActiveWindow.Zoom = 85
            ActiveWorkbook.Sheets("Step 1 Itinerary").Activate 'returns user to first sheet
    End Sub

    Tuesday, August 2, 2016 7:54 AM
  • This is ridiculous. I realise I'm also late to the game here, but this is driving me nuts. I have two images, on the same page, which are scaled to the SAME size (17cm), then when I click over to Print Preview or PDF them one stays at 17cm and the other scales up to 17.85cm! The odd thing is the 17cm one actually looks too small. The height doesn't change for either of them. How can two images on one page behave so differently??

    Tuesday, November 15, 2016 11:47 PM
  • Never will buy microsoft Office again.
    I've wasted 300  printed pages before see a problem in the images. Two days working to solve this problem  thinking i was an idiot. And finally find this post... RIDICOLOUS!!!!!!
    I've downloaded Kingsoft spreadsheet. For free. And this software don't have this problem!!!!
    I'll buy the business version of Kingstone, not Micorsoft. 

    Thursday, February 9, 2017 10:40 PM

  • I finally found a good workaround here ...

    Look for post #14 from Chinchilla.  This guy nailed it.

    I am stunned on how the web is littered with posts about Microsoft products not working as they should.

    How many thousands of hours do people lose trying to find workarounds for issues like these???  Why hasn't Microsoft addressed this in the past 15 years???  Why are some replies from them so evidently disconnected from reality (suggesting to use another printer driver), when all it takes to reproduce this issue is to paste a circle shape on a sheet and print preview???  BTW, another printer driver does NOT fix this issue.

    If Microsoft actually cared, they could hire people that find fixes that actually work.

    Wednesday, May 24, 2017 3:57 PM
  • Changing to Metro font as suggested in the referenced link mostly fixes my problems but things are still a little distorted.  Not just circles out of round but rotated objects not lining up right.  I think this workaround works because Excel changes the column widths when you change fonts.  This seems to happen unexpectedly throughout the workbook and so I don't like that solution.  I have found that getting the graphics to look right on the screen, saving it, clicking the upper left corner of the worksheet to select the whole thing then adjusting the column width down 10% before printing does the same thing.  I still immediately close the worksheet without saving to make sure other worksheets are not affected.  The prints and pdf files are still not perfect but good enough for my purposes. 

    Saturday, January 13, 2018 6:52 PM
  • Hi Warren,

    On further investigation, I found a report of this issue and a good explanation of why it has not been fixed, and how fixing it would cause other, more serious issues. I'm afraid we won't be able to address it.

    Anita Oakley

    That "answer" is reprehensible. Shame on you!
    Friday, February 23, 2018 6:23 PM
  • Hi Anita!

    Just checking in 5 years later to see if this issue has been addressed yet. 


    Friday, June 22, 2018 7:48 PM
  • 5 Years and no solution, now that's a top notch company. Definitely a leader at providing professional products *eyeroll*. "Fixing the bug would cause more problems" is not an answer. Translates to: we're so incompetent that we can't maintain core functionality in a program because we built it so poorly.
    Wednesday, July 11, 2018 8:59 PM
  • Laziest group of developers.. They can't fix an image distortion problem after almost 2 decades. FFS.
    --  No date picker ..
    Developer menu is nonsense in Excel.
    Then again, the lead OneNote developer doesn't fix or add features to the builds, as he somehow is allowed to add them to his own "for purchase" tool addon.

    I have no idea who is running MS's Office division and I do not think it's extreme to suggest they be replaced with someone competent. 


    We don't need the same broken core stuck to a new skin every 4 years. WE NEED WORKING TOOLS!!!

    • Edited by spacename Saturday, February 9, 2019 6:04 AM
    Saturday, February 9, 2019 5:52 AM
  • I just realized I had a thematically related issue and wrote it from that perspective...  

    My related issue is that images appear differently on different machines... So perhaps this is still insightful for this issue?

    Setting the Metro  / Metropolitan theme helped but did not fix it.

    Size and properties, Properties, Move and size with cells helped a little more but did not fix it for me (more below).

    Remoting into another machine and working side by side on multiple displays I had a Eureeka moment.

    The picture giving me trouble was landing in different cells on different systems.  On the first system where a circle landed in column A, it landed half in A and half in B on second system where distorted.  When I changed it on first system (as I didn't want to fiddle with sizing and scaling) so that it landed in column A on second system, it was good.  

    Some additional, fiddling the Size and Properties, Sizing option (move and size with cells / Do not etc.)  does not seem to impact as long as the image lands cleanly in the same column on both systems.  Apparently it can help lessen the effect of different sized cells as well as theme choice.  

    If I had more time to invest I would be curious to find with code the parent objects of the pictures and examine any positioning they have such as top and left properties.  Noteworthy the column widths are different when opened on different machines... This is odd as on my multi-display system the monitors are the same resolution (albeit different models) and therefore remote system is forced to my native resolution at connection (citrix).  Short version, same resolution, different OS, both Excel 2013 32 bit.

    Microsoft's position on this is unwinnable.   On the one hand the product needs to do the same thing it always has for backward compatibility, on the other this is a problem with how it always works and violates the WYSIWYG principle in that it varies between computers.  By fixing it they will likely break some functionality...  What is the right version for the appearance assuming they can do the math?

    The big piece is to understand what causes the cell size and therefore position to change so much among systems?  I suspect this was understood by the Microsoft author and is regrettable that a list of top x things that are likely to impact list was not given to at least help guide us.  Any additional insights would be greatly appreciated.

    32 Bit Excel 2013, Windows 10

    • Edited by kingofthemolehill Thursday, July 11, 2019 9:30 PM Clarify off topic but seemingly related
    Thursday, July 11, 2019 9:23 PM
  • The issue expresses itself differently on my PC--it looks OK in Page Layout view but Print Preview the image overlaps the cell below it by a significant amount. The printed copy looks just like the preview. It could be that they've tried to address the vertical squish issue by hard coding in a kludge and stretching images before printing to cover whatever the original problem was.


    • Snap to grid is poor at best. There's no way this could be used for professional graphic design. Trapping would be impossible.
    • I don't have the Metro theme available so I can't try that solution.
    • Switching from Page Layout view to Normal or Page Break Preview alters the width of all columns and makes my image too wide (left/right).
    • Looking at column width in Page Layout calls for inches but Normal is in unspecified units? Characters? In this case, 0.75" becomes 9 (no units).
    • I suspect that there are different representations of the same data in completely different structures in the different views. That could explain why there are font-based problems and why changing to Metro or a fixed width instead of Calibri fixes it for some people.
    • Your printer may have different versions of the same named font from what's installed in Windows, causing discrepancies between the print preview and what ends up on the page, or in the translation from the internal renderings (Windows installed fonts) to the preview (printer/driver installed fonts).

    I agree that this is a mess. Very likely the only way to fix it is to break some backwards compatibility and/or start over, hence the mealy-mouthed reply about not being able to do anything about it. Having tried to address similar kinds of problems with other commercial software products, that's just not going to happen. People are paying for the functionality it has and there's no budget or incentive to fix "minor" issues like this.

    Tuesday, July 23, 2019 3:10 PM