Excel-Linked presentations
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Excel-Linked presentations

Graphs and charts are a major part of almost any presentation deck design. Allowing to present data in a clear and convenient way, they are a must, especially when you’re dealing with data-driven stuff, either for school or for business. While some presentation-making tools allow you to create graphs to a certain degree, for a more professional approach, and especially if you need more complex graphs done fast, nothing would match Excel. The problem is though, Excel is not presentation software (obviously). So, you’ll have to somehow integrate it into your presentation and link Excel tables or data to PowerPoint. How to do it? Let’s find out together!

Why link Excel and PowerPoint?

As we already mentioned, Excel allows you to make graphs easily. However, another great feature is that you can actually make the data in your presentation dynamic. This means that updating the numbers in your Excel sheet would make the graphs implemented in the presentation updated as well. It’s a great feature to use for continuous presentations, such as monthly reports, powerpoint data visualization etc.

Another great feature is the ability to use multiple different graphs, derived from different sheets, bringing various sources of data together. While they won’t affect each other when you change some of the data, they would be stored in one place and even in one slide (that is if you could fit more than two graphs on one slide). 

Link Excel to PowerPoint

The first thing to know is that the Excel integration with presentation software is mostly limited to PowerPoint or Google Slides. Since both Excel and PowerPoint are Microsoft products, they are integrated quite well. So, there should be no problem with inserting an Excel sheet in PowerPoint or putting the graph from Excel into your slide. Actually, there are several methods of connecting your Excel and PowerPoint data

Method 1: Copy & Paste

Literally, just copy the graphs from the Excel sheet and paste them into your presentation. The graph would be pasted like an image (in the PNG format), and you can then adjust its height and width, as well as positioning on the slide, just like with any other picture. While really simple and quick, this method would strip the graph from some of the really important qualities. Most importantly, you won’t be able to automatically update data in it. However, you can paste it as an Excel file as well, giving the graph all of the functionality of an Excel file.

Method 2: Special Paste

This method involves a bit more complexity. It allows you to insert both charts and related graphs into your presentation. You can do it in Excel by selecting the Home tab, selecting Copy in the Clipboard group. In PowerPoint, choose the Home tab, select Special Paste, and choose the Paste Link in the submenu. This method allows you to put more data, and work both with the graph and the chart with the graph’s data. 

However, keep in mind that the chart you have inserted is linked with a fixed number of cells in the Excel sheet. That means that if you want to add another variable or to expand the existing rows and columns, the data imported into PowerPoint won’t be updated, and an error message will be displayed. What is more, your data in PowerPoint will only be linked to the sheet from which you copied it. So, if you will make a copy and start to make changes to it, they will not be linked to PowerPoint.

Link Excel to PowerPoint: Special Paste

Method 3: Data only

If for some reason, you just want to have only the numerical or text data copied from Excel, you can do that quite easily. While you won’t be truly embedding excel in PowerPoint, you can use this data to make the graphs inside a presentation software, using the graph creating tools available in PowerPoint. You can either copy the data as plain text or go with the embed Excel in the PowerPoint function so that the data in the presentation would upgrade along with the change you make in Excel.  

While you can make graphs in PowerPoint as well, it’s better to do it in Excel though. So, this method might be useful mostly if you have a specific need to make a graph in PowerPoint. On the other hand, you can use it for the data that needs no graphic presentation. After all, Excel is a powerful counting tool and if you simply want to present a chart with your results, this method would definitely work great for you, saving your time by using Excel formulas.

Method 4: Linking to Excel files

This method allows you to put the links to the Excel files into the PowerPoint slide and basically make a PowerPoint link to Excel. When clicking on the link, it will send right into the spreadsheet. It’s a perfect way of storing large amounts of data, as it occupies less space on the slide, and reduces the file size of your presentation. You can link Excel to PowerPoint by choosing Link in the Insert menu. There, you can choose a file you need either from the computer storage or your cloud.

The main disadvantage to this method is that it might be quite confusing and inconvenient. It involves switching between the two apps, which usually takes up more time and complicates your presentation process. What is more, the links simply do not look good on the slide in most cases. However, for presenting really large projects with lots of graphics and complex Excel spreadsheets this method can be the only viable choice.

In conclusion

As you can see, there are several ways of PowerPoint link to Excel and your choice mainly depends on what kind of Excel integration you want. For the most part, simply posting the graph as a picture or as an Excel file should do the trick, though, in some more specific cases, stuff like links to Excel can help as well. We really hope that this article provided some valuable insights on Excel and PowerPoint integration!

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