Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Excel Art Attack


You probably already know that Excel is a great tool for developing financial/engineering, as well as other spreadsheet applications. In this blog for example several freeware applications have been published, demonstrating various – obvious and not so obvious – capabilities of Excel. But, what about art? Is it possible to create art in Excel? Unconsciously and spontaneously, most people will say NO; Excel was not designed and developed for art.

If you agree with the last statement, then, after reading this post, you might reconsider your thoughts! It seems that art can be created in Excel!!! Below you will find a collection of several pictures, videos and workbooks that show the artistic side of Excel. Probably the phrase “spreadsheet artists” is the most appropriate to describe these people.


Tatsuo Horiuchi

What words can describe the work of Mr. Horiuchi? Amazing, awesome, beautiful and astonishing! The 74 years-old Japanese artist (born in 1940) started experimenting with Excel at around 2000, just before his retirement. He wanted a new challenge in his life, so, he bought a computer and started working with Excel. In 2006, he took the first place at Excel Autoshape Art Contest and he continued to create “Excel paintings” since then. Below you will find 8 of his paintings. More Excel paintings of Mr. Horiuchi can be found here, here and here.

Tatsuo Horiuchi 1

Tatsuo Horiuchi 2

Tatsuo Horiuchi 3

Tatsuo Horiuchi 4

Tatsuo Horiuchi 5

Tatsuo Horiuchi 6

Tatsuo Horiuchi 7

Tatsuo Horiuchi 8

If you don’t believe that the above paintings were made in Excel you can download two sample workbooks (Cherry Blossoms at Jogo Castle and Kegon Falls) from the Downloads section below and see with your own eyes the impressive work of Mr. Horiuchi.

Various artists

Apart from the amazing Mr. Horiuchi, there are several artists who have published several beautiful “Excel paintings”, most of which are related with video games. Before each picture you will find a link that will transfer you to the Devinatart page of the corresponding artist.

8bit Robot Battle - Excel


Apart from shapes, some kind of art can be created by combining various chart types with some VBA code. In general, an animation effect can be easily created in Excel. The Youtube trailer of this blog for example was created by a quite simple VBA code. For really impressive animations just watch the following videos:

The above videos – and the corresponding workbooks – can be found on two really interesting sites, Engineers-Excel and Excel Unusual. The workbooks can be also downloaded from the Downloads section below.

Bonus material: a great collection of quite unusual - but still beautiful - charts can be found in this site.


Art can be found everywhere, even in a typical Excel spreadsheet. The creativity, inspiration and imagination of some people can really do wonders, even in Excel. So, Excel is not just rows and columns! If you have other examples of Excel art feel free to post them in the comments.

PS: the title of this post was inspired by an old TV show called Art Attack!



The zip file contains a collection of several workbooks that contain paintings and animations. Note that the copyrights of these workbooks belong to their creators. Look inside the workbooks for more information.

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Mechanical Engineer (Ph.D. cand.), M.Sc. Cranfield University, Dipl.-Ing. Aristotle University, Thessaloniki - Greece.
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