Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Inserting Spreadsheet Screen Shots in your Blog - Tuesday's Tip

I wrote here about an ancestor county tracking log I created to provide a quick sheet for determining which of my ancestors was from each county in Virginia. The document was invaluable to my research at The Virginia Room at the Roanoke City, Virginia library. A reader asked how I was able to provide a view of my Excel spreadsheet, so I will provide it here. I will first state that I am not an IT wizard...I am more a "Wizard of Doing Something with the Stuff You Have." I am positive there is a better way, but I have found this to work just fine.

These steps are for Blogger users on a PC, but I imagine that the process on a MAC would be similar.

The first step is to open the Excel document you want to feature. Once you have your spreadsheet completed and to the point you want to display it on your blog, navigate to the Print Preview and click on it.
Finding the Print Preview option in Excel. Click to enlarge.
Opening the document in Print Preview allows you an unobstructed view of the document, minus the grid pattern in normal view, and shows any headers or footers you might have added. Ensure that your Excel document looks the way that you want it to look in your blog and make sure that you do not have the "show margins" box checked as this will show the margin lines on your final product. When you have the print preview showing what you want to highlight from your spreadsheet, hit the Print Screen button, shown as the "PrtScn" key on your keyboard, found in the upper right hand corner.

This key will take a "capture" of whatever is on your computer screen at the time. You are essentially "copying" your screen to "paste" it in another program from your Clipboard. Now, open any program on your computer that allows you to save documents in an image format. PC computers come loaded with the Paint program, found in the Accessories folder on your computer. Paint is a very, very basic image editing program, but works great for this purpose. You can also use Microsoft PowerPoint, as you can save a slide as a JPG file. Open your program of choice and use the "paste" command.

Spreadsheet "PrtScn" image as "pasted" in to the Paint program. Click to enlarge.
You'll note that your pasted image contains everything that was on your screen at the time. Crop the image to the area you want to show on your blog and save the file as a JPG file. You can choose other image file formats, GIF works particularly well on the Internet because of its small file size, but we want a semi-large format image so that viewers will be able to see our details, so JPG it is.

Next, insert the image where desired on your Blogger page. After you insert the image, you can highlight the image by clicking on it. It will show size options for the image. You can choose small, medium, large, x-large or original size. 
Blogger image size, placement and caption options. Click to enlarge.

Your choice for image size will correspond to the layout of your Blogger template. For my blog, the main text area is fairly narrow, so image size must be fairly small. I originally chose x-large as my image size for this post, but the right-hand side was cut off and the image border inherent to my template is lost as well. So I downsized to large. This does make the details a little harder to see, but no fear! Blogger "downsized" the view of the image for placement within the blog template, but it is still the same size as the original file you saved. When a viewer clicks on the image, it will open at the original file size, so that viewers will be able to see the details of your spreadsheet. I also added a caption to my Blogger image insert to indicate that viewers should "click to enlarge."

Next week I will cover how to edit the HTML code of your blog so images and links open in a new browser window.


Anonymous said...

What a handy tip! And thank you so much for the step-by-step directions.

Shelley said...

This is so helpful, Heather! I've never seen it explained so clearly before. Thank you!

Heather Kuhn Roelker said...

Thank you for the kind comments, I hope it is helpful for you!