Embedding or linking an Excel file in PowerPoint presentations can be confusing to beginners. However, Microsoft has done its very best to make the sharing process between these two apps as easy and as stress-free as possible.
In this tutorial, you will learn how you can embed or link an Excel file, data or chart into your PowerPoint slides.
But first, before we dive into the main tutorial, I’d like to highlight the differences between embedding and linking Excel files in PowerPoint. These terms may sound interchangeable but they do have major differences as you can see in the table below.
Difference Between Embedding And Linking Excel Files To PowerPoint
|1. Great for distributing PowerPoint files online as all the information from Excel is contained/stored in the PowerPoint file.|
2. Any changes made to PowerPoint are not updated in the original Excel file.
3. You don’t need to have the Excel file open BUT it still has to be accessible on your computer.
4. Since the Excel data is stored locally in the PowerPoint file, the file size also increases. This can be a big problem if you’re embedding a lot of data, tables, and charts from Excel!
|1. Not so suitable for distributing your PowerPoint file online as you would also need to send the linked Excel file.|
2. All updates/edits to your Excel file are pushed automatically to your PowerPoint file.
3. You will need to have both Excel and PowerPoint open on your computer.
4. Does not inflate the PowerPoint’s file size since the Excel data is not stored in the PowerPoint file.
Section 1. How To LINK An Excel File In PowerPoint (All Updates in Excel Are Automatically Pushed To PowerPoint)
In this section, I will discuss two methods. The first one is how to link an entire Excel spreadsheet (this includes both data and charts if any). The second one is how to link just partial data or chart to your presentation.
Method 1. How To Link An Entire Excel Spreadsheet
1. Do this step in Excel first: save the spreadsheet you want to link to your PowerPoint. When saving make sure that this spreadsheet is the first one you see when you open your Excel file (this step is especially important if you have many spreadsheets in the Excel workbook).
2. In PowerPoint, click on Insert > Object.
3. In the Insert Object dialog box, click on ‘Create from file’ then browse to the Excel file you want to use. Don’t forget to click on the ‘Link’ box so that any updates you make to the Excel file gets automatically applied to your PowerPoint.
4. Click on the OK button to complete the linking process. This is what the linked Excel spreadsheet looks like on our PowerPoint slide. As you can see, it included both the raw data in table format as well as the chart I made in Excel.
5. If you need to edit the data, you can double-click on the linked file and you will be taken directly to Excel so you can edit the file. All edits you make in Excel will automatically be pushed to your slide(s).
Method 2. How To Link Partial Data or Chart In Excel To PowerPoint
In this method, I am going to show you how you can link only a section of data in your spreadsheet. Remember that in Method 1, I used a sample spreadsheet with 5 columns. Here in this method, I will link only 2 columns.
1. In Excel, highlight the data you want to link to PowerPoint and click on CTRL+C on your keyboard. Alternatively, you can right-click on your mouse then click on Copy. For this example, I highlighted Column 1 and Column 2, like below:
2. In PowerPoint, go to the Home tab, click on the small arrow below Paste to show more options, then select Paste Special.
3. In the Paste Special dialog box, click on Paste Link > Microsoft Excel Worksheet Object.
Take note of the Source file in this image (Microsoft Excel Worksheet)
4. Click on OK to finish the linking process. Your linked data will look something like this:
5. If you want to link a CHART from the partial data, you will need to create the chart first in Excel. Then click on Copy. In this example, I am copying ONLY this chart that was created from the 2-column data.
6. This is what happens when I use the Paste Special method in PowerPoint (just like in steps 2 and 3):
Take note of the Source file in this image (Microsoft Excel Chart)
7. This is what the final linked chart for our 2-column data looks like on PowerPoint:
Just like in Method 1, if you need to update the data, just double click on the Excel data or chart on your PowerPoint slide and you will automatically be directed to Excel to work on the edits. All updates in Excel are automatically pushed to PowerPoint.
Section 2. How To EMBED An Excel File In PowerPoint (Updates In Excel Are NOT Automatically Pushed To PowerPoint)
In this section, I will discuss two methods. The first one would be to how to embed Excel data and the second one would be how to embed a chart in your PowerPoint presentation.
Method 1. How to Embed Excel Data In PowerPoint
1. Highlight the data you want to copy in Excel. Then press CTRL+C on your keyboard OR right-click on your mouse then select Copy.
2. In PowerPoint, right-click on the slide where you want to add the Excel data OR go to Home > Paste > Paste Special. You will then see 5 icons like this in Paste Options:
Icons you will see if you’re copying DATA from Excel
- First option – Use Destination Styles
Use this option if you want your data to use the format or theme of your presentation. Note how the table background is light blue. This is because of the default Office theme color I’m using.
- Second option – Keep Source Formatting
Use this option if you want your data to use the format of your Excel spreadsheet (not your PowerPoint theme). Since my Excel spreadsheet just has a plain white background, this is how my data looks in PowerPoint, too. If I change the background in Excel to yellow, then the table below will also have a yellow background.
- Third option – Embed
Use this Embed option if you want to copy AND edit your data in Excel later. Note that this option will also use Excel’s format, not PowerPoint, just like the second option above.
- Fourth option – Picture
Use this option to paste your Excel data as an image or picture in PowerPoint. This is the best option if you don’t want other people to edit your data.
- Fifth option – Keep Text Only
Use this option if you only want to copy the text from your data (no formatting at all). The cell values will be separated by tab spaces and each row will be in a separate paragraph.
Method 2. How to Embed An Excel Chart In PowerPoint
1. Highlight the chart you want to copy in Excel. Then press CTRL+C on your keyboard OR right-click on your mouse then select Copy.
2. In PowerPoint, right-click on the slide where you want to add the Excel chart OR go to Home > Paste > Paste Special. You will then see 5 icons like you see in the screenshot below in Paste Options:
Icons you will see if you’re copying Charts from Excel
- First option – Use Destination Theme & Embed Workbook
Use this option if you want your chart to use your PowerPoint file’s theme and formatting. This allows your chart to blend in nicely with the rest of your slides.
- Second option – Keep Source Formatting & Embed Workbook
Use this option if you want to use your Excel file’s formatting. This means that the chart will look exactly the same in PowerPoint and Excel.
- Third option – Use Destination Theme And Link Data
Use this option to use your PowerPoint file’s formatting and keep the chart linked to the original Excel file.
- Fourth option – Keep Source Formatting And Link Data
Use this option to use your Excel file’s formatting and keep the chart linked to the original Excel file.
- Fifth option – Picture
Use this option to paste your Excel chart as a picture. You can’t edit the chart but you can replace it with another image and apply picture formatting.
Final Words On Embedding and Linking An Excel File In PowerPoint
As I have shown in this tutorial, there are quite a number of ways to share and present your Excel file in PowerPoint. Just remember the main differences between linking and embedding content from Excel to PowerPoint. You will have to decide for yourself which of these options are best used in your specific situation.