My paper includes several graphs that are all much too long to make as tables, so I made them figures (copy and paste from spreadsheet to paint). My paper has to include a list of figures and a list of tables, and I would like to know if there is a way that I can trick LaTeX into thinking that those figures are tables.


First, what you did was incredibly ugly. Please have mercy towards your readers and do not use ugly bitmapped "tables" from paint! Just decrease the font or use longtable package if necessary.

Second, LaTeX does not care what do you put between \begin{table}\caption{...} and \end{table}. It is usually a tabular, but really it can be anything. From LaTeX's point of view this is a table:

\caption{A very ugly table}

But again, please, please do not do this!

  • Thank You that was very helpful. I'll try to take your advice and not do that again, but the tables were quite long. – Brian Dec 16 '11 at 20:00
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    Still, longtable should work in this case. I can't imagine that a graphic of a shrunken table is that much more readable than a longtable or a TeX-generated table where the default font size has been reduced. – Mike Renfro Dec 16 '11 at 20:07

I'll add my recommendation to never copy bitmapped graphics or text/tables out of Excel, and to find a LaTeX-based solution. That said, sometimes you already have a ton of data in a spreadsheet, and it's a pain to export it and recreate the graphs or tables in LaTeX. There are always better ways -- including, amazingly enough, copying vector graphics out of Excel. But it's a hidden feature; I don't remember where I discovered this solution.

In older versions of Excel, that still have an Edit menu: Select the chart. While holding down the Shift key, click on the Edit menu. Magically, the Copy menu-item has converted into a Copy Picture command. (This trick only works with the Edit menu, not the right-click context menu.) When you select the Copy-Picture command, you have three pairs of options. Select "Appearance: As shown when printed", and "Size: As shown on screen." The net result is copied to the clipboard. If you now paste it into Illustrator or any other vector-graphics program, you can fix spacing, fix colors (beyond the fixed palette from Excel), fix fonts, etc. etc. etc. From there you can save it in any format you want...

In Excel 2010, copying a chart normally (either Ctrl+C or right click, select Copy) will again copy the graph as vector data to the clipboard. From there you can again paste it into your favorite vector graphics program...

Hope this helps some people...

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