Category Archives: Copy Paste

Irritant: Text and Picture layout problems in Word?

New series

Our Copy Paste series is not yet over. But I am starting another one based upon feedback from readers. In this series, I will cover common  problems and solutions, starting with perhaps one of the most common irritant: Text and Picture layout problems in Word.

There are already many such sites for quick troubleshooting or Tips and Tricks. That is like spoon-feeding. This blog is not a quick fix.

Therefore, after giving the immediate solution, I will also explain the concept behind it and related features. This way, you learn something specific as well as something larger and generic. It amplifies the benefit and makes you more capable and confident.

Problem 1 – Text does not wrap around a Picture

When you insert a picture which is smaller than the width of the document it just stays there and space around it is wasted. If you type something before it, the picture moves. Very irritating! You want the text to wrap around nicely.

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Quick Fix

  1. Click on the picture.
  2. Picture Tools menu appears in the Ribbon.
  3. Click on it. Choose Wrap Text dropdown
  4. Click Square
  5. That’s it

text and picture layout options in Word

If you realize that you need to set the Square option often, click on the last option Set as Default Layout. Now onwards, when you insert a picture, the desired layout is applied  automatically.

Text and Picture Layout Knowledge

  • When a picture is added, it behaves as though it is text – because that is the default setting In Line With Text
  • It basically means that the picture is treated as text (like a large font text).. Therefore it moves around when you edit the text before it
  • There are two modes in which pictures (or other objects) can be treated by Word
  • As text or as a floating object
  • Clicking on SQUARE option makes it a floating object and also specifies how it interacts with the document text.
  • Word is smart enough to wrap the text around
  • If you move the picture, the text will readjust

Exercise

  • Try different modes and see how it behaves. You will learn the usage.

More Picture Layout Knowledge

Look at the dropdown.

First option is treat the Image as text.

Next section (from Square, Tight, Through, Top and Bottom ) controls how the text wraps around the text.

The third section (Behind or In Front) decides the object position with respect to the text. Behind text is like having a paper on which you put a sticker and then printed the text on it. In Front of text is like you printed the text and then put a sticker on top of it.

More options of course give you more sophisticated options. If you need to do precise arrangements in layouts like newsletters, professional reports, case studies, brochures – you must know every option there. You will be surprised to know how sophisticated it is.

Final option is obvious. If you have changed the settings and you like them, then set those as the default.

Win Prizes: Answer this Quiz question

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Question: What is the difference between Square and Tight and when is tight option practically useful?

Post your answers as comments to this blog.
First right answer will get the gift voucher by mail.
Please mention your email id in the reply.

You can redeem it against any Amazon.Com purchase. It never expires.

Quiz closes on 11:59 PM, 19th November 2013 Indian Standard Time.

Copy paste – Part 14 – Explore Paste Special in Word

Copy paste goes wrong often while working with multiple word documents. Here is how to get it right – every time.

Question. Do you use styles in Word?

If the answer is NO, then we need a quick primer. If you already use styles, skip this section. Remember one general rule about using Office efficiently.

Office is created to help us. We are not born to help Office!

Sounds funny? It is not. Read on …

When we create Word documents, there is regular content and then there are topics and subtopics (headings or sub-headings). We usually format these topics manually to make them look prominent. That is a complete waste of time. That is what I call “we are trying to help Word”. Why? Because we think it is not capable of understanding what we want.

Trust me – just expect a little more from Word (and Office). You have no idea how much effort has gone into creating the product. Even the smallest and rarest inconvenience is taken care of.

To cut a long story short, just type the heading and click Heading 1 in the Styles dropdown in Home tab.

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There are up to 9 levels of headings. If you use styles you get many benefits like automatic navigation pane, table of contents, automatic numbering, ability to rearrange document just with drag drop of headings, ability to create a presentation automatically and so on. I will write a separate series on Styles.

But for now just start using styles instead of manual formatting.

Copy paste in Word

Word works like this. There is the copied content (from source) and the destination where you are pasting it. If there is no style used in either, then it keeps the source formatting. If styles are used, it tries to merge the styles.

Copy paste without usage of styles

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Now if you select and copy something from source to destination – what do you expect? It should adjust to the blue surroundings. Unfortunately, the default is – Keep Source Formatting. Therefore, this is what happens.

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The answer is obvious if you have read the Copy Paste series of articles.

If not, notice that small little icon. Click on it.

Merge Formatting merges the paragraph level formatting and keeps the character level formatting (Bold, Italic, etc is applied and remembered at character level).

paste special in word

Choosing Keep Text Only (A) achieves the desired effect because it only pastes the raw text so that the local formatting is fully applied.

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This is how it works – even across documents where styles are not used.

Remember that you can use the keyboard shortcut CTRL T.

Copy pasting when styles are used

This is relevant only while copy-pasting across different documents.

If source style is different than destination style, then the default option is
Use Destination Style. The logic is simple – the pasted text looks uniform.

Copy paste with styles - paste special in word

The source Heading 1 style (brown) was adjusted to match
the destination Heading 1 style (blue). Notice that the formatting manually applied to the paragraph was retained. You will have to handle that separately.

If you want you can choose other options Keep Source Styles, Merge Formatting, Keep Text Only. But in case of style conflict, the default option works best.

Setting default paste

Word is a very sophisticated word-processor. Therefore, it provides very granular control over copy paste. Click the Set Default Paste… option and see for yourself.

Set default paste in Word

There are four possible options. You can change the settings independently. I suggest that you try changing the first two options to Keep Text Only if you do lot of cross-document copy paste without using styles. The third and fourth option defaults are usually appropriate.

Try how it impacts your copy paste effectiveness. If it is not satisfactory, you can tweak the settings as required.

For IT professionals

I have not checked this personally. But I think you can set these defaults using group policy for Office 2013. Yes. In case you have not noticed it, Office has been providing full Group Policy integration using ADM files since 2003. High time you explored and used it to improve efficiency. Will write an article about it later.

In the next article I will discuss more Copy Paste settings available in Word

Copy Paste – Part 13 – A better shortcut for Paste Special

Most common ways of invoking Paste Special are:

  • Alt E S keyboard shortcut
    This was the older (2003 or before) version shortcut – Alt E = Edit Menu, S was the hotkey for Paste Special
  • Open the dropdown of Paste in Home tab in the ribbon and choose Paste Special
  • Right click – Paste Special

A better shortcut

Although all these methods work, Microsoft added a NEW shortcut since Office 2007. Most people don’t discover it. The shortcut is

Paste special shortcut

Why should you use this shortcut?

The reason is simple. Paste Special is a variation of Paste. Paste shortcut is CTRL V. For Paste Special CTRL ALT V is more intuitive. It is definitely better than using mouse anyway.

But there is more to it.

Compare the actual act of pressing the older shortcut –

Paste special shortcut

On the fact of it, there are three keys to be pressed in either case. So what is the difference?

Let me show you the difference using a keyboard layout.

You try pressing Alt E S using left hand and see the position of fingers.

Now compare it with CTRL V and CTRL ALT V

Usually we press CTRL key using little finger and V using index finger. The middle finger is anyway resting near ALT key. Look at the photo on left side – I have intentionally flexed the middle finger to expose the Alt key.

You just have to decide is it Paste or Paste Special at the last moment. If it is paste, don’t press the middle finger, if it is paste special – just press the middle finger (right side photo)

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Another alternative is little finger for Ctrl, Index finger for V and thumb for Alt – which is also convenient. You try it out yourself and choose the method which is most comfortable to you.

This is ergonomics!

Imagine the amount of effort the Office team is taking to make our life easier and healthier… it is just that we simply don’t notice these things and therefore are not able to utilize the products effectively.

By the way, the imageshortcut works across ALL Office products. Including Project and Visio.

No Paste Special option in OneNote. Why?

It does not work for OneNote because OneNote does not have Paste Special functionality at all. It does not mean that you cannot choose the paste format in OneNote. It does offer four paste options as expected:

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In that case, the question is – why did Microsoft not choose a default format for paste and provide Paste Special in OneNote (like all other products)? Just to avoid a Paste Special dialog? That does not sound like a good reason.

This is my guess but I think that is the logical explanation.

The reason OneNote does not have two separate options – Paste and Paste Special – because :

  1. OneNote is used for various types of copy paste from diverse sources. And it is a comparatively new product – and most people don’t even know that it exists – even if they have it installed! Therefore, Microsoft did not / could not finalize a default format based upon common user behavior pattern.
  2. If you have started right clicking instead of Paste or Paste Special – as recommended in my earlier article, you will realize that the demarcation between paste and paste special is simply irrelevant.

Next article

Although the Copy Paste series is far from over, I will deviate from it and show you how to find useful keyboard shortcuts and reduce the damage to your wrist and tendons (which can happen due to excessive usage of mouse, among other things).

Copy Paste – Part 12 – Reorder Content with Shift Alt Up/Down

The need

We often write in the order in which it comes to our mind. We then tend to reorder content by copy pasting it. There is a better method.

Just remember these very powerful shortcuts

Reorder content - keyboard shortcut for moving a bullet, line, paragraph, table row

Shift Alt Up / Down Arrow

Whenever you write content or text with paragraphs, in any Office product, you can use the Shift Alt Up and Down arrows to move it up or down.

This works with:

  1. Word paragraphs. DO NOT select the paragraph. Just click inside and use the shortcut
  2. Word Tables – reordering table rows is extremely painful if done manually. Try this shortcut and you will curse yourself for not knowing it for so many years!
  3. Word Outline view to reorder entire Headings or Sub-headings (provided these are collapsed)
  4. PowerPoint bullets
  5. PowerPoint SmartArt Text Editor
  6. Outlook (because it uses Word as the editor)
  7. OneNote
  8. It does NOT work with PowerPoint tables. Because these are more of graphical elements and not formal tables.
  9. Excel is a grid – therefore this method does not in Excel as well.

Shift Alt Right and Left Arrow

This is even more powerful.

Word

In case of Word, by pressing Shift Alt Left arrow, you actually promote the heading style – or apply Heading1 Style.

If you use Shift Alt Right arrow, it demotes the style (and outline level)

This is the fastest way of creating documents with styles. No need to click on styles or use keyboard shortcuts which are more complex (Ctrl Alt 1 2 or 3).

PowerPoint

Like Word, it can be used for promoting and demoting bullets.

Usually to create sub-level bullets we use TAB key. But that works just after a fresh new bullet is added. If you are somewhere in the middle of a paragraph, pressing TAB key will actually insert a tab and increase spacing.

However, Shift Alt Left / Right arrows work irrespective of where your cursor is.

Now the most powerful usage in PowerPoint is to edit hierarchical information in SmartArt Editor. Try to insert a SmartArt of type – Hierarchy – choose some Org Chart and then go to the editor. You can easily promote or demote items very quickly using this shortcut key.

Try these simple yet powerful shortcuts. Let me know your feedback. If you find more uses for this shortcut, do let me know.

Copy Paste – Part 11 – Why do we need 24 clipboards?

In the earlier post, we saw how to get up to 24 clipboards. But why would you need so many of them?

On the face of it, this sounds like an overkill. We are happily using ONE clipboard for years. So it is looks like a useless feature.

Key Learning: There is nothing like a useless feature

This is a very important thing to remember. Adding a feature is a very complex and costly process. Microsoft is not going to add a new feature if it was not serving any purpose.
Those of you who understand programming know that behind every feature there is a need, a problem or a use case. Unfortunately, when you use a product developed by someone else, the feature is visible first and the underlying need may not be apparent.

So what do we do? We do it in two steps.
First, we learn the functionality – what does it do? In this case we already know that. At this stage you know the technical feature. But that is NOT called knowledge. That is partial knowledge.
The next step is more important. You must find the underlying need or problem it is trying to address. Why do you care? Simple! Because it may be your need. If you do not discover the need, you may never use the feature in spite of understanding how it works technically.

Finding your needs behind every feature is called Applied Learning!

Of course, there may will be features which you do not need in your current context. But in any case, if you know when they are useful, you will be able to use them if the need arises in future.

Multiple Clipboards: Usage Scenarios

Word: Executive Summary

Executive Summary  contains key sentences which summarize details from the document. We write Executive Summary AFTER the rest of the document is created. Here is how you can do it faster.

  1. Write the document
  2. Activate Office Clipboard
  3. Move through the document, select key sentences and copy
  4. Continue the process till end of the document (or 24 clipboards)
  5. Go to Executive Summary and choose Paste All
  6. Each copy will be a separate paragraph
  7. If you want to combine these paragraphs into one paragraph, follow this sub-task
    1. Select all the Executive Summary
    2. Press Ctrl H (Find – Replace)
    3. Type ^p^p in the Find textbox
    4. Type ^p in the Replace textbox
    5. Click Replace All
    6. We will discuss how this works in a separate article (Word Find and Replace is a treasure. Very powerful, but very rarely used appropriately)
  8. Now your Executive Summary is ready

Excel: Combine Tabular Data

Very often we get tabular data from multiple files or sheets (regions, locations, months,etc). How do you combine this into a single master data sheet?

Copy – Paste to Master, Copy – Paste to Master, Copy – Paste to Master and so on.

Now you know what to do

  1. Enable Clipboard
  2. Copy  – Copy – Copy
  3. Go to destination
  4. Paste ALL

PowerPoint: Collect Pictures and arrange them using SmartArt (Picture Layout)

This is a very powerful method. Let us say you are browsing for various products and you want to capture many images and put them on one slide. Another scenario would be logos of your customers.

Here is how you do it.

    1. Start PowerPoint
    2. Activate Clipboard
    3. Go to browser and copy various images as required. Right click the image and choose Copy (CTRL C will not work here as it is a web page and the focus may be ambiguous)image
    4. In PowerPoint add a new slide
    5. Choose Paste All
    6. Unfortunately that does not solve your problem
    7. All images will be overlapping one anotherimage
    8. But don’t worry. PowerPoint knows your problems.
    9. While all the pictures are selected, just choose Picture Tools – Picture Layout and choose a layout you want. (You can hover mouse over each to temporarily draw the picture layout and choose the best one. You can also do it later)clipboards Powerpoint
    10. Now, depending upon the overall area occupied by all selected pictures, PowerPoint will layout the pictures automatically
    11. Resize the area as desiredimage
    12. Now it is a SmartArt object
    13. You can click on Design and change the layout if needed
    14. Finally, you will need to add captions for each picture
    15. DO NOT click in the textboxes to add them.. there is a small edit arrow (double or single arrow) on the left margin of the SmartArt bounding box
    16. Click that and add titles

Can you think of more usage scenarios?

If you find more scenarios, please post them here. I will also learn something new.

Next Article

There is more to copy paste and the series is not ending any time soon. But I am sure you want some variation. So next article will be something different. We will continue the Copy Paste series later.

Copy Paste – Part 10 – How to get 24 clipboards

The limitation

All of us know that there is only ONE clipboard. WRONG! There are actually 24 clipboards if you use Word, Excel or PowerPoint.

When you copy something, whatever was already there in the clipboard gets overwritten. If you want to change that behavior you must activate these 24 clipboards.

Activating 24 clipboards

It is simpler than you think. Just click on that unseen, unnoticed yet extremely powerful arrow at the corner. Technically these guys are called Dialog Launchers. Why? Because these activate the dialog related to the name written next to it.

Just click on it and a new pane (docked window) will open on the left side of the application.

Activate 24 clipboards

This shows the clipboard contents. If the clipboard has something in it, it will be shown. If not, the pane will be empty.

empty clipboard

Now onwards, whenever you copy something, it will accumulate – it will NOT overwrite the existing clipboard.

Whenever you copy, notice what happens at the bottom right side of the screen – it shows you a small popup which counts how many clipboards are colledted (1 of 24, 7 of 24 and so on).

Try this NOW

  1. Open any Word Document
  2. Open the Office Clipboard
  3. Select a paragraph (triple click selects a paragraph, in case you did not know)
  4. Copy it
  5. Notice that it is shown in the clipboard

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  • Now open an Excel file
  • Copy some data
  • We have not opened the Clipboard in Excel, but still it is active
  • You will see a notification at the bottom right of the screen (notification area)

 

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  • Now open some web page
  • Copy something
  • Now go to File Explorer and copy a file
  • If you feel like, open some non-Office products and copy something
  • Finally go to Word
  • You will notice that all these copied items are there24 clipboards
  • Now open PowerPoint – notice that we have not copied anything from PowerPoint
  • Open the Clipboard in PowerPoint
  • Notice that all the clipboards are available in PowerPoint as well
  • Go back to Word
  • Click on each item to paste it
  • Or choose Paste All and see that all the items are pasted in the order in which these were copied
  • Amazing! Is it not?

    More details

    Some kind of copying cannot be added to the clipboard – like copying files. In that case the popup will indicate the problem.

    image

    Notice the options

    There are a few options. I will discuss these options in the next articles. But why don’t you figure it out yourself, in the mean time.

    I will also show you practical usage scenarios of this powerful feature.

    Before you ask, it has been there for many years. It is just that nobody noticed it – like thousands of others!

Copy Paste – Part 8 – How to open a collateral file with Insert Action

The Location

Writing this blog sitting under this beautiful Auckland Sky Tower… Lovely weather.

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The need

  • Let us say you are presenting  sales performance by month
  • In a particular month, the sales is very low
  • Someone asks you to show details of the transactions

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  • You have to now open the original Excel file which contains the raw data.image
  • How do you do it?
  • You have to stop the presentation, open Explorer and figure out where the file is
  • Many things are against you right now:
  • You are under stress… You may not find the file or find an outdated version
    Worse still, you may open some unwanted folder

Common mistake: Stuffing raw data into PowerPoint

We want to avoid such trouble during a presentation. Therefore, we try to solve the problem by trying to copy pasting the raw data into PowerPoint. Unfortunately, large amount of data cannot fit into the limited space available on the slide.

This is not really a limitation of PowerPoint. It is just that you are using the wrong approach. Here is the correct way…

The solution: Be Prepared

When you suspect that someone may question you on your summary data, you need to be prepared. How do you do that? You already know.

First step is to get the context of the original file into the slide.
Use Paste Link, Embed or Insert Object

In either case, WHILE EDITING the presentation, you can write click on the pasted object and open the Excel file. What we really want is to have the same ability DURING THE PRESENTATION.

To understand how it is done, we need a small detour.

PowerPoint Presentation = Trigger + Action

I will cover this in detail in another article. But here is the shorter version.

A presentation contains slides. Each slide has various shapes and objects on it. When you run the presentation – PowerPoint shows the first slide and waits. When you click it goes to next slide … again waits … then you click – next slide … and so on till you end the presentation.

Is this a problem in word as well?

The CLICK is called the TRIGGER and MOVING TO NEXT SLIDE is the ACTION. In our case when we click on the slide containing the summary data, it simply goes to the next slide. If you right click, the menu now shows presentation related controls. The open worksheet command is missing.

The Solution: Insert Action

This is the time we change the default behavior of PowerPoint and ask it perform a DIFFERENT ACTION when we click on the Summary object. How to do that?

  1. Click on the Excel object (it could be Paste Link or Embedded or Inserted Object icon)
  2. Open Insert tab on the ribbon and choose ACTION
  3. As you can see the default action is DO NOTHING (which means do nothing special – do the default action – which is going to the next slide)
  4. Choose Object action and select OPEN
  5. Click Ok

Powerpoint Insert Action

Now run the presentation and see what happens. On this slide, if you click anywhere outside the Excel data, it will just go the new slide as expected.

However when you move the mouse cursor over the Excel data, the cursor shape changes to indicate that it is a hyperlink. Click on it to open the Excel file.

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Show the details and then press ALT TAB to come back to the presentation. It is still running undisturbed.

Next article: PowerPoint and Psychology

Although this method works with inserted objects, there is a practical problem there. In fact there is a psychological problem.

What is the problem?

Inserted Object is shown as an icon. Therefore, your audience knows that you have a collateral file. So even if they have no reason to trouble you, they may just ask you to show the file. You don’t want that to happen. Why ask for unnecessary trouble?

We will handle that interesting situation in the next article.

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.

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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.

Copy Paste – Part 6 – How to embed a file in Powerpoint

In the previous post, we saw how linking of files works. Now let us understand what Embedding means.  We will continue with the same scenario of embedding an Excel File in PowerPoint.  However, this concept would work across all Office applications.

You have copied some data from Excel. Now you paste it into PowerPoint and choose the EMBED option.

Copy Paste - How to embed a file in PowerPoint

It is still showing the Excel range you copied. It behaves like a picture if you try to resize it. But it actually made a copy of the ENTIRE EXCEL FILE and stuffed it into your PowerPoint presentation.

If the original Excel file was, say, 20 MB in size, the presentation size will also grow by 20 MB.

When to Embed?

If you want to package the Excel file with PowerPoint presentation, then this is the best option. The benefit is, you can still show specific summary data on the slide.

If you want to send the presentation with collaterals – this is the best way.

How to open the embedded file?

While editing the presentation, just right click on the object – Choose Worksheet Object and Select Open.

Open an embedded file

DO NOT choose EDIT. If you do, it tries to give you Excel editing capabilities in the small area in which you have pasted the data. The ribbon automatically changes to Excel options rather than PowerPoint options. This is called in-place editing. But most people get confused with it. If you want to expand the range of selection, this is a good option to use.

In either case, the Excel file which it opens is NOT the original file. It will have a name like worksheet in Presentation3. This file now lives inside the presentation (in geek language, it is called OLE File System).

Removing the embedded file

For any reason, if you feel that you should not have embedded the file, how to manage the situation? I am sure you will know this answer if you have read all the Copy Paste Series posts.

Copy the Embedded object, Paste it as Picture and delete the original embedded object!

Next post

We will explore the Insert Object feature in the next post. It is similar to Embed but with a small difference. In fact Insert Object and Embed are interchangeable!