This may require an expert in MS Excel, I happen to have version 2007.

The issue involves how Excel is distorting images when placed in a sheet. Imagine this scenario, and maybe duplicate it on your end:

1) I use the graphic borders feature of MS Word to create a border. The margins in Word are Top: .88, Bottom: .88, Left: .75, Right: .75, Gutter: 0. I then add a graphic border with margin Top 1pt, Left: 4pt, Bottom: 1pt, Right: 4pt. Measure from is "Text", and these options are checked: "Always display in front, Surround header, and Surround footer".
The end result here is that I have a blank white page with a graphic border going around the page. This is for a certificate basically.

2) I export this to PDF. This is so I can then import to Photoshop.

3) I import the PDF to a Photoshop document which is 8.5 x 11 normal paper size, the same size as the PDF/Word doc. Here is important, my Photoshop file is 600 DPI, because in Excel, the Page quality is set to 600dpi, I'm hoping this will match up, but it may also be one of the problems, not sure.

4) In Photoshop I now have my border page, however, I don't want the margins to "double up" when inserted into Excel, so I use Photoshop to crop the PDF and remove all the margins. This leaves me with JUST the border edge to edge. Make sense? Now I export from Photoshop to a TIFF. The resulting file is actually 7.45 x 9.605 as reported by Photoshop. So this size is the exact size of my border graphic because it has no margins. You would think I could import this image and not have issues?

5) Now that I have a TIFF of my border graphic, 600DPI, 7.45x9.605 in size, I go in Excel and insert this graphic into the header. I put it in the header because I want to be able to enter data in cells with the graphic behind it. I have also tried using the image as an inserted object and still run in to size issues.

6) Here is where all the problems are. You would THINK, that because my graphic is 7.45x9.605, it would fit on a 8.5x11 sheet in Excel? Well no it doesn't, the left and right part of the graphic are completely off page, and the top and bottom are are nearly squished to the far edges. This I don't understand, my graphic is smaller than 8.5x11 so why wouldn't it fit inside a page?

To try and fix this, I set the margins in Excel to the same margins I had in Word originally (step 1). You would THINK that once I have the same margins in Excel that I did in Word, the graphic would fit just exactly where it needs to be, but it doesn't! In fact the grahic is overly huge, the top and bottom of the border right on the edges, and the left and right sides not visible.

To even get my graphic to fit in the page at ALL visually is set all the margins to ZERO! Then I can "see" the border, but it is smashed edge to edge of the worksheet, and if I try to print, it gets cropped.

The question is, I KNOW my graphic is 7.45x9.605. And I KNOW that an Excel sheet is 8.5x11. And I KNOW my graphic is not being distorted, because in the image properties, scale is 100% and everything is original size. I KNOW my Photoshop document was 600dpi, and I KNOW Excel Page property says 600dpi. I KNOW that if I print my border from Word, or from the exported PDF, or from the Photoshop document, they all come out identical in size, but only if I place the image in Excel I cannot get it to size right no matter what I do.

To test things, I went in Photoshop and created a document exactly 7.5x9.5 (to eliminate multiple decimal places just in case). I printed this document from Photoshop, it printed perfectly, of course. I measured with a ruler and it is exactly right. I then imported the TIFF of this to Excel, removed margins except for the header at .88 to push it down a little. When I printed this, the "squares" of my grid still look square, so the aspect ratio seems right, however, the grid measures 8 1/16" wide and 9 3/16" tall!! What the heck is Excel doing? So it makes my image 9/16" wider than it should, and 5/16" shorter! It didn't even stretch it proportionately, it's making it wider, and shorter?!?

I have spent hours and hours researching and checking every option I can find and nothing makes a difference, Excel just will not display the image at the correct size. I've tried different DPI from Photoshop as well. I've inserted the image as an image object and right away the image blows out of page 1 and onto the next page. When I look at the properties of the image it still says 7.5x9.5, but visually the image is expanding to multiple sheets because it's wider. I tried JPG instead of TIFF as well. GAAAA!

Somebody please have an answer for why Excel is screwing up the scale or size or proportions or whatever it is doing to my images!

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I've continued to test this and am not seeing any consistent behavior except for Excel's INconsisten behavior!

I created two identical images, a black grid 4"x4" and a red grid 4"x4". I set the black grid as an image in my header, and then I insert the red grid as a normal picture. I then place the red grid exactly over the top of the black grid so that I can only see red. They are the same size visually when I'm looking at the sheet.
Next I open print preview, and suddenly the black grid is wider than the red grid, and they are not lined up on each other any more except top and bottom. They stayed same height, but both changed widths.

I checked options regarding resizing with cells and all that stuff, I could NOT get my print preview to look like the sheet view, nor could I get the black header grid to stay the same size as the red grid.

Here is an image of looking at the grids on the worksheet:

Here is the worksheet after entering print preview:

I suppose it's too much to ask Microsoft for a weeee bit of consistency when handling images? I could upload 10 more images of wacky behavior but I just hope somebody understands what is going on.


I couldnt agree with you anymore, great testing you should work for microsoft. Now the question is what does Microsoft have to say about this? hmm?

While I know this is not ideal and will no doubt require some tinkering but have you tried reducing the scale from 100%?

Excel, in my opinion, is absolutely great in many ways but can be really finicky in others. External images, in my own experience, have been difficult to work with and I don't use them at all anymore. Instead, I find ways to do what I need with the inserts that Excel offers.

Other things that I have had issues with (that cannot be resolved, which may be the case for you too) are sheet controls like buttons or scroll bars distoring in shape and size depending on different screen resolutions. I mention this because it's just another one of those things that Microsoft can't be bothered with.

Anyways, try the scaling of the image and, maybe even try using a jpeg instead of a TIFF (another possible Excel 'thing'). Hopefully you can solve this one and if you do, please let us know how you did it.

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