Flags in Excel: How to Easily Insert Country Flag Icons in Cells & Charts!

I’ve seen many examples in which you want to work with flag icons in Excel. That might be when you compare countries, markets, sales per region and so on. Instead of just writing long country names – or shorter but maybe not so intuitive abbreviations – you could insert flag icons. In this article, I’ll describe ways to insert country flags into Excel cells and charts.

Summary

Due to a lot of limitations, using images or pictures is usually the best solution for working with flag icons in Excel. However, if you only work on Mac systems, you could also use emojis. For Windows users there is one alternative: The new FIELDVALUE function. But it works only in cells (not charts) and doesn’t come with many formatting options. Here is the summary:

Insert flag into:WindowsMac
Table / CellFIELDVALUE / Data Types
(click here to jump to section)
Emoji
(click here to jump to section)
ChartImageEmoji

Insert flag icons as image / picture in Excel

The first method works universally in most versions of Excel. And as of now, it’s the only one with detailed formatting options. But, admittedly, it’s a pain. It works like this:

  1. You copy the flag image from somewhere (search the internet for free icons – I’ve found some here: https://www.flaticon.com/packs/flags-3?word=flag
  2. Paste it into Excel. Either your cells or your chart.

That’s it. Sounds simple, right? It is – until you start the dragging and moving around.

Inserting country flags as images is universally possible.
Inserting country flags as images is universally possible. (Icons made by Roundicons from www.flaticon.com)

Maybe in this context a tip: When selecting the pictures, Excel provides alignment and sizing features as highlighted in the screenshot below:

Insert Emoji-Flags (Mac only)

This is one of the rare cases – when it comes to Microsoft Office – that Mac users have an advantage. They can insert any emoji the system supports. And it seems that Apple is using the usual emoji set (Microsoft Windows only seems to support a selection, not sure why…).

That means, you can insert the country flags by clicking on “Edit” and then on “Emoji & Symbols” from the menu bar.

On Mac systems you can use emojis as flags.
On Mac systems you can use flag emojis.

If you open the same file on a Windows computer, it looks like this.

Unfortunately, flag emojis can't be displayed in Excel on Windows.
Emojis that are not supported in Windows look like this.

The new Data Types / FIELDVALUE function in Excel can insert flags as well

Microsoft seems to be working on the FIELDVALUE function which is getting increasingly powerful. It pulls data from (external) sources. One of the first functions is country data. Besides inserting only text or numeric data, it can also insert flag icons.

Here is how to do it:

  1. Type country names into cell (make sure to spell it correctly).
  2. Select all cells with country names and click on “Geography” in the Data Types section.
In order to insert the flags, first convert your country names to data type "Geography".
First convert your country names to data type “Geography”.

Once convert to data type "Geography", you can easily insert the flag images.
Once convert to data type “Geography”, you can easily insert the flag images.

Excel now adds the small “Geography” symbol in your country cells. The last step is to insert the flags. Just click on the small icon “Insert Data” and select “Image”.

Please note: this feature is only available on newer versions of Microsoft Excel. For more information about the FIELDVALUE function, please refer to this article.

The result might look similar to this:

The Excel Data Types / FIELDVALUE function can insert flags. They don’t look as nice but change dynamically and are very fast to add.


Do you want to boost your productivity in Excel?

Get the Professor Excel ribbon!

Add more than 120 great features to Excel!


Download

Please feel free to download all the examples above in one Excel workbook. Just click here.

Image credit of round icon: Icons made by Roundicons from www.flaticon.com

Henrik Schiffner is a freelance business consultant and software developer. He lives and works in Hamburg, Germany. Besides being an Excel enthusiast he loves photography and sports.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *