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.

Achieve more with less effort by using Office 365 platform efficiently. Learn from the Efficiency Guru, Dr. Nitin Paranjape @drnitinp