Insert a Table within a Cell in Excel

Excel cells are designed to hold numbers, text, formulas, dates, times, pictures, or shapes but not tables. Excel tables are specially designated areas of worksheets. They work as a whole and we can manage their contents independently from the other worksheet data.

We cannot insert an Excel table within a cell; however, we can insert into a cell a hyperlink that jumps to a table, a picture of the table we want to refer to, or a linked picture that refers to a table.

In this tutorial, we will look at how we can apply the three workarounds.

Insert a hyperlink that jumps to a table

A hyperlink takes us to the intended table with a single click.

We will use the following table named Employees to show how we can insert a hyperlink that jumps to a table in a cell:

We use the following steps:

  1. Select Cell F2 and right-click on it.
  2. Click Hyperlink… on the shortcut menu that pops up:
  1. In the Insert Hyperlink dialog box select Link to Place in This Document. Type “Go To Employees Table” in the Text to display box and select Employees and then click OK:

A hyperlink is created in Cell F2. When we click on the hyperlink it jumps to the Employees table:

An alternative method of inserting a hyperlink in a cell

Alternatively, we can use the HYPERLINK function to insert a hyperlink in a cell. The HYPERLINK function creates a shortcut or a jump that opens a document stored on the hard drive, network server, intranet, or on the Internet.

We use the following steps to achieve this:

  1. Select Cell G2 and type in the formula:
=HYPERLINK("Employees", "Go To Employees Table")
  1. Press the Enter key and the hyperlink is created:

Explanation of the formula

=HYPERLINK("Employees", "Go To Employees Table")

The syntax of the formula is HYPERLINK(link_location,[friendly_name]).

  • The link_location argument is required and in this case, it refers to the table named Employees in

the worksheet.

  • The friendly_name argument is the jump text that appears in the cell and it is optional. It is displayed in blue and underlined. In this case, our friendly name is “Go To Employees Table.” If we omit this argument, the link location is displayed as the jump text.

Both arguments must be enclosed in double quotation marks otherwise the HYPERLINK function returns an error.

Insert a picture of the table we want to refer to

We can insert a screenshot of the table we want to refer to in a cell and lock it such that it resizes, moves, and filters with the cells.

We use the following steps using the Employees table as an example:

  1. Take a screenshot of the Employees table and save it in a folder on the hard drive.
  2. Select Cell A1 in another worksheet.
  3. Click Insert >> Illustrations >> Pictures:
  1. Navigate to where we stored the screenshot of the Employees table, select the image and then click Insert:
  1. Resize Cell A1 so that it can accommodate the image:
  1. Right-click on the image and click Format Picture… on the shortcut menu that pops up:
  1. In the Format Picture pane click Size & Properties >> Properties >> Move and size with cells:

This will lock the table image in place such that we can move the cell, filter it, or hide it and the table image will also move, filter, and hide.

Insert a linked picture that refers to a table

In this workaround we use the following steps:

  1. First, insert the image of a table in a cell as demonstrated in the previous workaround.
  2. Right-click on the image and click Hyperlink… on the shortcut menu:
  1. In the Insert Hyperlink dialog box click on the ScreenTip… button and type “Go To The Main Employees Table” in the ScreenTip text box and click OK:
  1. Click Link to Place in This Document >> Employees and then click OK to close the Insert Hyperlink dialog box:

Now that the image is linked, when we point to it and see the icon of a hand and the screen tip text and click, we jump to the Employees table:

Conclusion

In this tutorial we have seen that Excel cells are designed to hold numbers, text, formulas, dates, times, pictures, or shapes but not tables.

Although we cannot insert an Excel table within a cell, we can insert into a cell a hyperlink that jumps to a table, a picture of the table we want to refer to, or a linked picture that refers to a table.