Microscope image of an iPhone screen.
It really is just a spreadsheet.
Digital photographs are actually just spreadsheets. When you take a photo, your camera measures the amount of red, green and blue light hitting each pixel, ranks them on a scale from 0 to 255 and then records those values as a spreadsheet.
Matt Parker found a way to actually open digital photos as spreadsheets in Excel. The process involves cracking the digital photo file open, scraping out all of the numbers and putting them into the cells of an Excel spreadsheet. Conditional formatting is then used to colour each cell so that it is completely black for "0", fully bright for "255" and every whole-number shade inbetween. This is applied so that the rows of the spreadsheet alternate between red, green and blue exactly as they would in a digital photo.
Matt originally did this the long way. He has a lot of free time. Thankfully, this website now automates the whole process for you. Upload a photo and instantly download it as a real spreadsheet!
BEFORE: Just a regular digital photo.
AFTER: Now it's a spreadsheet!
The Excel files will be slow to load on your computer, but they will work if you're patient. Zoom out to 25% or 10% in Excel to see the whole photo at once. Zoom in to 200% or 400% to see the individual pixels.
So the next time you want to send someone a photo, now you can send them a spreadsheet instead!
Image converting code by Andrew Taylor. Website assembled by Rick Steckles and Alison Hover. Phone-screen microscopic image courtesy of Jamie Gallagher.