How to Embed an Excel Spreadsheet into PowerPoint

By on Aug 21, 2014

Sometimes I forget how small, incremental improvements can make a huge difference in the productivity and efficiency of staff. I was reminded of this recently while visiting an agency and talking with the Employee Benefits staff.

When I asked about their frustrations, they made the comment that they spent a tremendous amount of time updating PowerPoint presentations when rates change at the last minute. Like many benefits departments, they had an extensive library of Excel spreadsheets where they maintain the coverage and rate information for prospects and clients.

I commented that they should just copy and paste the Excel spreadsheet information into the PowerPoint presentation so it would be automatically updated whenever the Excel spreadsheet information is changed.

Their look told me that they didn’t know this was possible.

One of the nice things about using Microsoft Office is how well the different programs actually do work together. So this week I thought I would share how you can embed an Excel spreadsheet within a PowerPoint slide. A similar process allows you to do the same thing in Microsoft Word.

Insert an Excel worksheet into PowerPoint

You can link data from a saved Excel spreadsheet into your Microsoft PowerPoint presentation. This means if the data changes on the Excel spreadsheet, you can update it in your PowerPoint presentation with just a few clicks. You can link an entire spreadsheet, a selected portion of a spreadsheet or an Excel chart. If you don’t want the data in your presentation to update, copy the spreadsheet cells and paste into your presentation.

Insert Excel spreadsheet into PowerPoint

To insert a linked Excel chart into PowerPoint 2010, do the following:

  1. Open the Excel workbook that has the information you want to put into PowerPoint. As I said above, this can be a table or a chart.
    Note: The workbook must be saved before the chart data can be linked in the PowerPoint file. If you move the Excel file to another folder, the link between the table or chart in the PowerPoint presentation and the data in the Excel spreadsheet breaks.
  2. Select the area of the table you want to copy or the chart.
  3. On the Home tab, in the Clipboard group, click Copy. copy
  4. Open the PowerPoint presentation that you want and select the slide where you want the chart inserted.
  5. pastearrowOn the Home tab, in the Clipboard group, click the arrow below Paste, and then do one of the following:
  • If you want the chart to keep its look and appearance from the Excel file, select Keep Source Formatting & Link Data.
  • If you want the chart to use the look and appearance of the PowerPoint presentation, select Use Destination Theme & Link Data.

If you are pasting a table, you can edit the information by double-clicking on the table in the PowerPoint slide. This will open the Excel file and allow you to make any changes necessary. As you make changes in the Excel file, the table in the PowerPoint slide will be updated automatically.

To update a chart simply select it, and then under Chart Tools | Design tab | Data group, click Refresh Data.

These steps are for PowerPoint 2010. If you have a different version, simply look up the exact process in the help file for your version.

Learning to link Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint together can help you minimize the amount of updates you have to do and at the same time reduce your exposure to potential E&O errors.

What other Microsoft Office tips do you use? Let me know.

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