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How to Embed (& Automatically Link) Excel Files in Word

Many of us use Microsoft Word and Excel every single day. Both apps are part of Microsoft’s Office suite of productivity tools. It’s even more powerful when you learn how to embed Excel into Word for tight integration.

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Learn how to embed Excel into Word for rich and explanatory documents.

There are several options for embedding Excel in Word. You’ll see in this tutorial that there are multiple ways to embed Excel files in Word that stay connected to the original data. Let’s learn how to link Word to Excel and keep your data and docs in sync.

Word is a powerful word processor used to edit and format text. Excel is a leading spreadsheet app to work with numbers and data. Each app has a very different purpose. But they can work together seamlessly!

This is a productivity tool that you should be using now. When you learn how to link Word to Excel, you’ll find yourself working smarter. Why? Because although each app is different, they’ve got complementary purposes. One app can make your work in the other better and easier. 

Think of Word as a communication tool. It’s where you create documents to share. With a full suite of graphics features, Word helps you create stylish written files. It’s geared towards text. You won’t use Word to do data analysis. But Word is the perfect way to share your conclusions.

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Linking Microsoft Word and Excel helps you work smarter and more efficiently. (Image source: Envato Elements.)

Similarly, Excel is a data-heavy tool. With less emphasis on visuals, Excel is meant to analyze large volumes of information. Microsoft Word and Excel have separate, but related, functions. Keeping that in mind, why should we learn how to link Word to Excel?

Because Word documents can benefit from Excel’s data prowess. While Word isn’t built for data analysis, you may want to include that in your work. When you get a document written, it’s often helpful to share supporting data. With embedded Excel in Word, you can do exactly that. 

Word offers several ways to insert or link to Excel files. All are easy, and you can find the one that works best for you. It depends on the level of control and flexibility that you need. Let’s learn how, in just a few quick steps. 

How to Paste Excel Tables in Word

One embed Excel file in Word technique is to paste the table right into Word. It takes only a few clicks, and you can easily move large volumes of data in seconds. But that doesn’t mean you sacrifice creative control. Using Word’s paste options, you can manage exactly how data appears and performs.

In Word, there are two main ways to paste Excel tables by linking them. Let’s look at each. We’ll explore the advantages of both and showcase the end results. 

The tips in this section were written using Windows and Office 365. If you’ve got a different operating system or a different version of Excel or Word, your steps may be slightly different.

Linking is how to link Word to Excel by building a connection. In other words, it adds Excel data to Word that’ll update in real-time. If you make a change in Excel, it’ll automatically reflect in your Word doc. There won’t be any need to continually paste or type in new values when you make a change.

The first paste technique is to link and keep source formatting. This means that the table in Word looks exactly like it does in Excel. If you’ve added style elements like borders or font effects, they’ll carry over into Word. 

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Copy your table from Excel and prepare to paste it into Word.

To make an embedded Excel in Word this way, begin by opening an Excel spreadsheet. Find the table that you want to paste into Word. Click and drag your cursor over the table to select it. Then, press Ctrl + C on your keyboard. This copies the Excel table onto your clipboard. It’s ready to paste between Microsoft Word and Excel.

Then, go to your open Word file. Place your cursor in the open spot where you want to paste the Excel table. Then, right-click once. On the menu that appears, notice the Paste Options section. In it, you’ll see an array of buttons. These control how your Excel table will paste into Word.

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Right-click in Word and explore the numerous Paste Options to control how and where your Excel table appears.

To link and keep source formatting, you’ll want the third option from the left. Hovering over it, you’ll see that it’s labeled Link & Keep Source Formatting. Click this, and your Excel table will paste onto your Word document.

As you can see, the styles applied in Excel effortlessly transfer over. This keeps styles synced between Microsoft Word and Excel. You won’t have to redo any formatting work. 

We’ve just learned a great way to link Microsoft Word and Excel. In the example, styles and design formatting copied from Excel into Word. Now, imagine that you want your table to blend in with your Word document’s existing styles. But you don’t want to spend a long time redoing the format of the table by hand.

Fortunately, Word has you covered. To learn how, repeat the earlier step of selecting an Excel table and copying it to your clipboard. But this time, when you right-click to paste, choose a different option.

Try out the fourth option, Link & Use Destination Styles. The table will paste into Word, and the design updates to fit the style aesthetic that you’ve built in Word. 

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Using the Link & Use Destination Styles, your Excel table stylistically converts to match your Word doc.

No matter the paste and linking option you select, Word updates the table values if you make a change in Excel. It’s easy to demonstrate. Simply type a new value into one of the table’s cells in Excel. This is how to link Word to Excel for realtime data.

Then, return to Word. You’ll see that the Word table has automatically changed to show the latest data.

How to Paste Without Connection

In the options above, we learned to paste Excel tables into Word by linking them. Changes made in Excel after pasting reflect in Word by default when you use this method.

Sometimes, it’s useful to paste in static data. In other words, you may not want Microsoft Word to update the table values, even if you change them in Excel. This way, you can share a snapshot of your table in Word from a moment in time. It won’t change unless you physically make an edit in Word itself. 

I like to use this technique when building Word docs, and it’s amazingly easy. You’ll start by doing the exact same copying process that we used above – select your table in Excel, and press Ctrl + C

When you return to Word and right-click, you’ll want to use the first two thumbnails in Paste Options. These are labeled Keep Source Formatting and Use Destination Styles. 

Just like before, this controls how your table displays in Word. Using Keep Source Formatting, you’ll get a visual copy of the Excel table. But with Use Destination Styles, the design and format merge into the Word doc’s own design. 

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Pasting without linking inserts a static version of Excel table data into your Word document.

Again, the process here is the same. But these techniques merely paste data values from Excel. They don’t link, meaning the Word table won’t update if you change the Excel version. Microsoft Word and Excel disconnect with this option.

For updates, you’ll need to paste the table again, or type the values into Word. It’s another top option when you think of how to add Excel to Word document files in 2022. 

How to Embed an Excel File in Word

You’ve already learned how to link Word to Excel using the suite of paste features. These methods give you precise control over your data and how it appears in Word. Another option is to embed an Excel file directly into Word without pasting.

Consider times where you don’t actually want to display an Excel table. Imagine for example that you’ve got a Word document describing a study that you performed with thousands of data points. Putting all this data in the file would be too complex, but there’s another option.

This is a case where embedding an Excel file in Word is a winning choice. You can include your Excel data in Word, without actually displaying it. Instead, readers see an Excel thumbnail that they can click on to view an entire spreadsheet.

To embed Excel files in Word, find the Insert tab on Word’s ribbon. If you’re unfamiliar, the ribbon is the series of menus across the top of the screen: Home, Insert, Draw, and so on. Choose Insert and look at the options. On the right, you’ll see the Text group, specifically the Object dropdown arrow.

Click on the Object dropdown, then choose Object. The Object window launches with an array of choices. We’ll embed an Excel file in Word with the Create from File tab. 

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Embed Excel files in Word documents by going to the Insert > Object menu in Word.

Once there, choose Browse. Find an Excel file that you’ve got saved on your computer, click it once, and press Insert. Finally, click on the Display as Icon checkbox to activate it. Then, click OK. 

This is how to embed Excel into Word. You (and other users) see an Excel spreadsheet icon within Word. Double-clicking it launches the spreadsheet in Excel. Your data isn’t shown, but with an embed Excel file in Word option, it’s available behind the scenes.

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Embedding an Excel spreadsheet in Word links to your data, without cluttering up the Word document itself.

This way, your spreadsheet data is easily accessible. But it won’t clutter up your Word doc. Use an embedded excel in Word when it’s simply too much info for the doc itself. As you can see, this is another fast way to connect Microsoft Word and Excel. 

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Now You Know How to Embed Excel Into Word

With our tips, you now know how to add Excel to Word documents for data-driven files. Whether you use an embedded Excel in Word or connect a table, your documents are more helpful.

Now, it’s your turn! You know how to link Word to Excel with a few methods. Practice using embedded Excel in Word with a sample document. Soon, you’ll see the power of how to link Word to Excel.

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