How to Create a Pictograph in Excel

Change a simple bar graph to a pictograph

In Microsoft Excel, a pictograph uses pictures to represent numerical data in a chart or graph. Unlike standard diagrams, a pictograph (sometimes called a pictogram) incorporates images to replace the colored columns or bars most often seen in presentations.

Here's how to create a pictograph in Exel to grab your audience's interest by using colors and images. 

This tutorial covers how to change a simple bar graph to a pictograph in Microsoft Excel 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, Excel 2019 for Mac, Excel 2016 for Mac, and Excel 2011 for Mac.

Enter the Tutorial Data

To follow this example, open a new worksheet in Excel and enter the following data into the cells referenced.

  1. Enter Peanut Butter into cell A3.

  2. Enter Gingerbread into cell A4.

  3. Enter Sugar into cell A5.

  4. Enter 2005 into cell B2.

  5. Enter 15,500 into cell B3.

  6. Enter 27,589 into cell B4.

  7. Enter 24,980 into cell B5.

  8. Enter 2006 into cell C2.

  9. Enter 16,896 into cell C3.

  10. Enter 26,298 into cell C4.

  11. Enter 25,298 into cell C5.

  12. Enter 2007 into cell D2.

  13. Enter 14,567 into cell D3

  14. Enter 24,567 into cell D4.

  15. Enter 21,547 into cell D5.

Create a Bar Graph

The next step is to create a standard bar graph.

  1. Drag to select cells A2 to D5.

  2. Select Insert.

  3. Select Insert Column or Bar Chart in the Chart group.

  4. Select 2-D Clustered Column.

  5. A basic column chart is created and placed on your worksheet.

    Create a Pictograph in Excel

Add a Picture to the Pictograph

Next, we'll add a picture to the pictograph.

  1. Double-click on one of the blue data bars in the graph and choose Format Data Series from the context menu. The Format Data Series dialog box opens.

  2. Select Fill Options or the Fill & Line icon in the Format Data Series dialog box.

  3. Select Picture or texture fill under Fill.

  4. Select File if you want to use a picture saved on your computer.

  5. Select Online if you want to search online for a picture to use.

  6. Find and select the image you want to use.

  7. Select Insert to add the picture.

  8. Select the Stack button.

  9. Close the Format Data Series dialog box. The blue-colored bars in the graph are now replaced with the image selected.

    A screenshot showing how to add images to a chart to create a pictograph
  10. Repeat the above steps to change the other bars in the graph to pictures.