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!

Copy Paste – Part 5 – Paste Link and Embedding

Paste Link and Embedding are extremely useful. But most of us have not fully understood it. I am going to split this post in to multiple parts because I want to keep individual post short.

The need

Let me list down common requirements.

  1. Eliminate repetitive manual copy paste from the same Excel file
  2. Show summary from Excel and attach an Excel file as a collateral and send it along with the presentation
  3. Just attach an Excel file to a presentation as a collateral – without showing any content from it.

These three requirements translate into three different methods of Copy Pasting from Excel to PowerPoint. Paste Link, Paste Embed and Insert Object.

All these Copy Paste methods work between all Office products. Excel to PowerPoint is just an example scenario.

Eliminate repetitive copy paste with Paste Link

We often have summarized version of data in a worksheet. For example, you are showing YTD results (cumulative) across the year. The data is updated every month. You need to copy paste the current month status into PowerPoint for monthly review presentation.

Every month you copy paste SAME range in the SAME worksheet in the SAME Excel file.

In this case you can save yourself the trouble by linking the Excel data to PowerPoint. Thereafter, PowerPoint will keep the data updated automatically.

Here are the steps:

  1. Copy from Excel as usual
  2. Choose Paste Special in PowerPoint (Alt E S or Ctrl Alt V)
  3. Choose Paste Link
  4. Choose the first option and click OKCopy Paste - Paste Link
  5. Save the Presentation
  6. Now make some changes to the data in Excel
  7. Come back to the presentation. Notice that the changes are automatically shown.
  8. Changes to data as well as formatting are automatically reflected.
  9. This is called Paste Link
  10. If you right click on the linked item, you can actually see this menuimage
  11. Using the Open option you can even open the related Excel file from right within PowerPoint

Real-life scenario

In the above example, both files were open at the same time. However, in real life, you will usually edit the Excel data across the month and at that point of time, you presentation is not going to be open.

Similarly, when you open the presentation to prepare for the end of the month review, the Excel file is unlikely to be open.

But you don’t have to worry. The PowerPoint presentation remembers that there is a link and it manages that link for you. Whenever you open the presentation, it will ask you if you want to update the link. If you choose Continue, it will find the Excel file and open it (behind the scenes) and update the data.


This dialog may look a little different depending upon your settings and version of Office.

Link information

In the File – Info page of PowerPoint, you can view and edit the links.

Powerpoint Edit Link

Links are not good for others – break them!

Who benefits from the linking? You – the creator.

If you send this file to some other person, they don’t really need this automated linkage. They are unlikely to have access to your original Excel file. When they open the file, the update dialog will still appear – confusing them unnecessarily.

Therefore, when you send the presentation to others, it is better to break the links.

But wait! Don’t remove links from the original file. Make a copy first.

Go to File – Info – Edit Links, Select the links and choose Break Link.

Now the linked items just become pictures.

Remember, linking a file does not increase the size of the presentation.

The disadvantage

The PowerPoint file has information about the linked Excel file. But the Excel file has no clue that there is a presentation linked to it.

Therefore, if you rename or move the Excel file, PowerPoint update may fail. If you know the new name or location of the file, you can choose it again and the link will be re-established.

In the next article, we will see how to Embed a file.

Copy paste – Part 4 – XL to PPT – Edit after Paste (Step by step)

In the last  post, we saw the video. It was a fast paced video. In this post, I will explain the same thing in a step by step manner – with some additional details.

The objective is to copy from Excel, Paste it in PowerPoint, Edit it in PowerPoint and then display it properly (in adequately large size) on the slide.

The concept is simple. Pasting data can be done in many formats. Table format allows editing, and Picture format allows easy resizing of the image. We have to use both these formats in this case.


  1. Copy the data from Excel as usual
  2. Paste it in PowerPoint and choose – Keep Source Formatting option
    Edit after paste
  3. The data looks very small in PowerPoint and you cant edit it.
    Why so? Because in Excel we usually use a higher level of ZOOM and in PowerPoint we have a lower level of ZOOM. While copy pasting the ZOOM level is NOT copied. That is why it looks so small and unreadable.
  4. This paste is in Table format (Look at the top menus and notice Table Tools tab)
  5. Zoom in to the table by using CTRL and Mouse wheel
  6. Edit the content and zoom out
  7. Run the slide show to notice that the size of the data is still small
  8. We need to increase the size of the data. However, it is still a table. and it will not resize properly
  9. Now we need a picture.
  10. That is simple. Copy this edited table first.
  11. Paste it and choose Picture format
  12. Now you can resize it (remember CTRL and drag from corner)
  13. That’s it. We got best of both worlds

In case you want to edit the data again, you cannot use the picture. Delete the picture. The edited table is still available there. Edit it and repeat the process.

Remember, Copy Paste is about answering two questions:
Where to Paste ? and How to Paste?

If you answer these questions correctly, Office will give you the desired results immediately. If you do not provide clear instructions while copy pasting, Office uses default behavior which may not be what you intended.

In the next article we will see when to use Paste Link, Embed and Insert Object.

If you have time, view the video in the previous post and tell me which method you prefer. Video (short and crisp) or step by step instructions (takes longer to read).

Copy Paste – Part 3 – Excel to PPT – Edit after Paste

Please read Part 1 and Part 2 before reading this post.

As we saw earlier, default paste from Excel to PowerPoint is a Table. What if you want to edit the content after paste? Of course, Table can be edited but not resized easily.

Here is the solution … view this 44 sec video. The video is very fast paced. But just remember the context. Then you will understand it easily. Rerun, pause and try it out if required.

Copy from Excel, Paste in PowerPoint, Edit and enlarge the image

Was it too fast? Would you prefer slow video or step by step instructions as screenshots?

Let me know your feedback. The next post will be step by step instructions with screenshots for this video.

Try it out. If you find it useful, share it with the world.

Copy paste – Part 2 – Excel to PowerPoint

Please read the first part of this series before reading this one.

Copy pasting from Excel to Powerpoint a very common activity for business users. You can copy either data or Charts from Excel to PowerPoint.

WHERE to paste and HOW to paste?

In the previous post, we saw HOW to paste and choose the right format.
Let us address the other question. WHERE to paste.

When you copy (data – not chart) from Excel and Paste it into PowerPoint, it creates a separate object in some cases. This is because we have not explicitly told PowerPoint where you want to paste it. That is easy to do. CLICK or better still – RIGHT CLICK in the textbox or object where you want it pasted.


Please note that this approach does not work in case of Paste Link. The object will be pasted as a separate entity even if you click inside the text box.

Notice the format in which data was pasted

This is best done by looking at the ribbon tabs at the top.

If data is pasted as a table (which is the default), you will see image

If data is pasted as a picture, you will see

If it was a shape or textbox, then you will see

When you click any object, one of these toolbars will appear automatically. Noticing these is a very good idea – it is like Situational Awareness in Office!

Choosing the right format

These are the paste options available for Excel data while pasting into PowerPoint.


This is the default and usually nobody likes it because it applies local color theme which is black and white. Therefore, the source formatting is not shown here. The data is pasted as a TABLE. This is very important.


This option uses local theme (colors as per PowerPoint template). It is still a table. So the data is editable. But the problem is that the pasted table looks too small. Trying to make it bigger is gives you a headache.


image What happened? The table became bigger – the grid increased in size. But the content font size did not increase. This is NORMAL behavior for any table. It is just that we expected it to resize nicely! If you want everything to resize correctly, then this is the WRONG format. Read on to find out what is right.


Embed is a dangerous option. What does it do? It makes a copy of the ENTIRE Excel file and stuffs it inside the presentation. What you see is only the part you had copied. But the file size of your presentation will increase as much as the Excel file size.

This is a good option to send the original Excel file as a Collateral along with the presentation.


This is the option most people need. The data is converted to a Picture. Now you can resize it without distorting it. Remember to remove AutoFilter option before copying – otherwise the drop downs of filter will appear in the picture.

Excel to Powerpoint

Unfortunately, that means, you cannot select filtered data for copying.
But there is a workaround for it. Hide the header row and copy the header one row above before copying the data! Bad workaround. But that is all we have Sad smile

Copy Paste Keep Text only

This option is the simplest one. It just gives the text. Notice that if you selected multiple columns of data, the text is separated by Tabs – not spaces.

Resizing the pasted object – or resizing anything for that matter

When you paste anything into PowerPoint – and it originated outside PowerPoint – it is pasted perfectly in the center of the text area.

Unfortunately, we often need to resize the pasted object because the default paste was too small to be visible on a slide.

I am sure all of us have found out the hard way that resizing an object without distorting its proportions is to drag from the corner – not from sides.

Resizing from center

The solution is to press image key while dragging it from the corner. This way the center is not disturbed but the size is increased.

CTRL Drag = Grow from Center

What next?

In the next article we will see some more nuances of Excel to PowerPoint copy paste:

  1. How to edit the content AFTER pasting
  2. Animating the content
  3. Linking the content to prevent repetitive copy paste
  4. Embedding the content
  5. Difference between Link, Embed and Insert object

How to Copy Paste efficiently – Part 1

Copy paste

Copy paste are the SECOND most commonly used keyboard shortcuts across Office tools. But it never works exactly the way you want. I could not find any detailed and easy to understand explanation about various ways of copy pasting. Hence I am starting with this series.

If you are in a hurry, just read the Summary at the bottom.

Guess what is the MOST COMMON shortcut used?

Undo shortcut

Yes. UNDO is the most common action performed by ONE BILLION people everyday!
I am sure you also use UNDO everyday – without realizing one very disturbing and demeaning fact.

Why do you need to use UNDO so often? If you did something by mistake and then used UNDO, it is fine.

But usually, you use UNDO because you wanted something to happen and then something else happened. You don’t want it that way. Therefore you press UNDO. But what you originally wanted is still not done. You will now get that done in some other manual, round-about way.

So think again… what is that UNDO telling you?

“Undo means you don’t know how to do.”

So here is a simple way of improving your efficiency. Every time you are about to press Ctrl Z… STOP there. And think a little. What can I do differently so that I will get what I want. This way I will ELIMINATE the need for UNDO in that context next time onwards.

Every UNDO is a learning opportunity!

The most common reason why we need to UNDO is COPY PASTE gone wrong.

Therefore, we will discuss copy paste in detail in this series of articles.

The concept


Copy paste concept

Copying is easy. Whatever is selected is copied and put in the clipboard. But what about Pasting at the destination? There could be many ways of pasting it.

Copy Paste dilemma

Depending upon the content and your needs, various formats may be used for pasting. Common formats are text only, picture, grid and so on.

The problem is when you press CTRL V to paste, which format should Microsoft apply by default. Microsoft finds out the most commonly desired format by surveying users and that becomes the default.

For example, if you copy any Excel data and Paste it into PowerPoint, the default format is a TABLE. Why so?

Because Excel is anyway like a huge grid (table) and PowerPoint does not understand Excel format but it understands what a Table is. Therefore, that is the default.

What if you don’t like the default paste format?

No problem. Microsoft has already thought about it. That is why there is PASTE SPECIAL.

Paste special

It shows all the available formats for pasting – including the default.

The wrong way… which incidentally the most common way!

Copy paste the wrong way

The right way…

Copy paste the right way

Microsoft realized that this inefficient behavior is rampant and is leading to inefficiency. So they provided another solution…

After the default paste, one small little icon appears automatically and hopes to attract your attention.

Copy Paste drop down

It did attract attention but in the wrong way. Everyone hates it. Nobody knows why such icons appear in the first place. In fact it it difficult to get rid of them. They just linger around irritating you even more!

Let me vocalize what that icon is trying to tell the world…

Copy paste drop down explained

When you click on it (or press imagekey) it shows you most of the options which you get in Paste Special. You can then choose the one you want.

In fact, to help you choose the right option, you just move your mouse cursor over each option. It temporarily pastes it in that format and shows you the result visually. If you don’t like it, move to the next one. When you find the desired one, click on it. (In case you are interested – this is called Paste Preview)


Unfortunately, most of us never noticed this great feature and therefore, never benefited from it.

Notice the keyboard shortcuts as well. Even in today’s TOUCH world, keyboard shortcuts are the most efficient way of working. So if you wanted Keep Source Formatting… notice that (K)

You could have directly pressed image

Microsoft still continued its effort to make our lives easier. Since 2010 onwards, they modified the Right Click menu to add all the Paste Options in it – complete with the live preview.




If you want to copy paste in the most efficient way… here is the right method.


While choosing formats, notice the keyboard shortcuts and start using them for even more efficient and accurate copy paste.

In the next article we will cover nuances of various pasting formats – Paste Sepcial – Deep Dive for Excel.