How to Make Pixel Art and Emoji Art in Google Sheets

This guide will show you how you can use an add-on to make your very own pixel art and emoji art in Google Sheets.

Pixel Art is an add-on available on the Google Workspace Marketplace that can automatically generate pixel and emoji art for you.

Google Sheets is a powerful tool for productivity and business, but it can also be used to make art! Each cell in a spreadsheet can be treated like a pixel in an image. Resizing the rows and columns so that they’re the same width can help enhance this effect.

In the example below, I was able to create a simple house using a 12×17 grid. If you’re really patient, you can make even more complex pixel artwork. Creating pixel art is the perfect activity for teaching kids how to manipulate cells and formatting in Google Sheets. 

simple pixel art made in Google Sheets


However, what if you wanted to create pixel art of your friends and family or your favorite movie star? It would take hours or even days to find the right colors manually.

Luckily we can use a Google Sheets add-on called Pixel Art to do this automatically. With the Pixel Art add-on, we can upload our own images and let the add-on compute where to place each cell. This add-on even has the option to create your art using emoji and colored cells. 

Are you interested in creating your own pixel art in Google Sheets? Let’s look at what Pixel Art can accomplish. We’ll then learn how to install the Pixel Art add-on in Google Sheets and test it with some sample images.



A Real Example of Pixel Art and Emoji Art in Google Sheets

Let’s look at a real example of the Pixel Art add-on being used in a Google Sheets spreadsheet to generate art.

In the spreadsheet below, we were able to create a pixel artwork from a source image of Albert Einstein. 

Making Pixel Art and Emoji Art in Google Sheets using Pixel Art add-ons


If we zoom in closer, we can see how each individual pixel of our artwork is just one of the thousands of formatted cells.

close-up of artwork


The add-on works by parsing every pixel in the uploaded image and writing the hex color codes in the spreadsheet’s cells. Another method will then format each cell to have the appropriate background cover. Lastly, the script resizes all cells so that they are square in shape.

We can also create emoji art using the same add-on. In the image below, we can see that each cell has an associated emoji and its fill color.

Emoji art of Iron Man


You can make your own copy of the spreadsheet above using the link attached below. 

If you’re ready to try out the Pixel Art add-on yourself in Google Sheets, head over to the next section to learn more about how to use it.



How to Make Pixel Art and Emoji Art in Google Sheets

This section will guide you through each step needed to start using the Pixel Art add-on in Google Sheets. You’ll learn how we can use this add-on to make intricate pixel art and emoji art from an uploaded image.

Follow these simple steps to start creating some pixel artwork:

  1. First, we need to install the Pixel Art add-on. Find the Get add-ons option under the Extensions menu.
    First, we must install our Pixel Art add-on

  2. The Google Workspace Marketplace will appear as a pop-up. The marketplace has a variety of apps that can enhance your experience with the G Suite tools, including Google Sheets.
    explore Google Workspace Marketplace

  3. Using the search bar, look for the Pixel Art add-on. Once you’re on its extension page, click on the Install button to add it to our workspace.
    Pixel Art add-on to make Pixel Art and Emoji Art in Google Sheets

  4. In the Extensions menu, you should now be able to see an option to open the Pixel Art button. Click on Open to bring up the Pixel Art panel.
    Open add-on in Extensions menu

  5. The add-on panel will appear on the right-hand side of the screen. To upload an image, click on the Select Image button. The add-on accepts PNG, JPEG, and GIF images.
    add-on panel to make Pixel Art and Emoji Art in Google Sheets

  6. Next, select the Art Format of the final output. For this example, we’ll choose the Colors option.
    you can select either solid colors or with emoji

  7. Depending on the resolution of your image, it might take up to a minute or so to fully render your artwork. The panel will indicate whether or not the calculation is still in progress.
    Pixel Art and Emoji Art in Google Sheets takes some time if picture is hi-res

  8. Once the add-on has completed the process, your spreadsheet should now have the final pixel artwork.
    Pixel Art and Emoji Art in Google Sheets

  9. Since our image has a high resolution, we need to zoom out a bit more to see the full image.
    full pixel artwork captures each pixel of the source image

  10.  Emoji artworks similarly. The only difference is that the script also computes the emoji with colors closest to the source image.
    close-up of emoji pixel art



That’s all you need to remember to start using the Pixel Art add-on in Google Sheets. This step-by-step guide shows how easy it is to generate your own pixel and emoji art from an image.

The ability to create pixel art in Google Sheets just shows how powerful of a tool it is. With so many other Google Sheets functions available, you can surely find one that suits your use case. 

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