Lightboxing Images in Excel

I received an email out of the blue yesterday asking if its possible to put pictures in Excel comments:

I am working on a media report based on creative templates and wanted to give the end user easy access to a view of the creative and my thought was it would be neat to have the ability to build in a comment like function but with graphics.

As far as I know you can’t put images in comments, but maybe we can do better. Web developers have developed a technique called Lightbox that was pioneered by Loresh Dhakar. When you click on a thumbnail the image opens full size in the center of your browser screen and the background is grayed out. Check out an example here.

Can we do the same in Excel? Absolutely. Download these two files to see how.

Excel Lightbox.xls

media.jpg (save to the root of your C:\ drive)

Excel Lightbox before showing the image

Here’s a simple report in Excel Lightbox.

Clicking the Show button brings up the lightbox view. The image is dismissed by clicking on it.

Excel Lightbox before showing the image

This could be improved and extended in lots of ways. The image could be fetched from a URL. Thumbnails could be automatically generated. I’d love to see your ideas on how to extend this.