Copy Paste – Part 7 – How to Insert Object

Please read the Intro post and the Embedding post before reading this article.

Insert Object embeds an existing file or new file into your document. In that sense it is like Embedding – which we discussed in the previous post. So what is the difference?

The starting point is different. In case of Embedding we first open the source document, highlight some portion of it and then paste it into destination while choosing EMBED option.

In case of Insert Object, we first go to the destination and then choose the ENTIRE FILE to be embedded. Therefore, we do not get any control over which part of the inserted file will be shown after it is added to the destination.

How to Insert Object

If you choose an existing Excel file and Insert it into PowerPoint it tries to show the contents of the Excel file in PowerPoint. Excel file can contain many worksheets. Which worksheet to show? PowerPoint does not know that because we never mentioned that – we just selected the file to insert. Therefore, PowerPoint shows you the contents of the sheet which was active when the Excel file was closed the last time.

If this sheet happens to have large amount of data, the Insert Object command may take a very long time to complete and the results will be very deplorable.

Insert Object

The solution

The solution is simple. We just need to specify that there is no need to show anything from the inserted file. Just show it as an icon. That option is shown in the Insert Object dialog itself :

Insert Object - Display as Icon

Now the Inserted file looks like this.


It is a good idea to change that default description to something more business context specific. Click on change icon and change the title. Also note that there are many icons available. Choose the one which suits the content type.

Change display icon

File size

File size does increase as much as the original size of the file. While embedding files, make sure you are choosing the new file formats. If you embed older formats (XLS, PPT, DOC), the file size will be much larger.

Note that you can use any file in the Insert Object dialog. It need not be Office document. It could be any type of document.

Resizing the embedded Icon

The default size of the icon is very small. If required, you must manually increase the size of the icon to make it visible during the presentation.

Remember, if you make the icon visible enough, you are also taking a risk. Anyone from audience may ask you to show the contents of the file and then you must do so.

In fact that is the topic of our next article:

Next Post: Problem and Solution

You are presenting some summarized data – say – sales performance by month

  • In a particular month, the sales is very low
  • Someone asks you to show details of the transactions
  • You have to now open the original Excel file
  • You have to stop the presentation, open Explorer and figure out where the file is
  • You are under stress
  • You may not find the file, find an outdated version, open some unwanted folder… all sorts of things can and will go wrong

Do you want an easier solution?

Now that we know Paste Link, Embed and Insert Object, there is an easy solution. If you think you may have to show details during the presentation, use one of these approaches to make sure that you have the file either linked or embedded.

Now the question is – how to tell PowerPoint to open the file – ON DEMAND?

That is what we will discuss in the next article.

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