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Charts and Dashboards: Linking Excel Charts to Power Point

6 November 2020

Welcome back to this week’s Charts and Dashboards blog series. This week, we will consider how to link charts from Excel to a presentation in Power Point.

There is a straightforward way of exporting information from Excel to PowerPoint. This method will allow you to link your Excel image in PowerPoint back to the source file.

It is noted that there is a PowerPoint option for a slide layout containing text and a chart object. This is not suitable for pasting an existing Excel chart and is only necessary if you wish to use Microsoft Chart for building a new graph from scratch. We will not consider that option here.

Instead, let’s consider an option that will update automatically, to allow for new categories, changes in numbers or even a change of chart type. The first thing to do is to set up our chart in Excel. An example could look something similar to the following work of fiction:

Next, the chart should be selected and the copied in the usual way e.g. click on the chart, right-click and select ‘Copy’.

In PowerPoint, select the slide which will be used to house the graphic and then go to the Home tab on the Ribbon and on the Clipboard group, select Paste, where there are a few options to choose:

  • Use Destination Theme & Embed Workbook
  • Keep Source Formatting & Embed Workbook
  • Use Destination Theme & Link Data
  • Keep Source Formatting & Link Data
  • Picture.

Choosing ‘Keep Source Formatting & Link Data’ will paste the chart from Excel without changing how it looks and establish the link to the data in the Excel file. Pasting the chart to the PowerPoint slide and click on it, a contextual ‘Chart Tools’ tab will appear on the Ribbon. Here, the chart can be reformatted, and chart data may also be refreshed from the linked Excel file:

Any changes made in Excel will be reflected in this PowerPoint presentation as well, given that the links are not broken. To edit the links if they break, go to the File tab on the Ribbon, and then click on the Info tab:

We can navigate to the bottom right corner to find ‘Related Documents’, then click on ‘Edit Links to Files’:

A ‘Links’ dialog box will appear, allowing us to make changes or maintain the links if they were to break or the file is relocated.

That’s it for this week. Check back next week for more Charts and Dashboards tips.