How to link Excel data to your PowerPoint presentation

You always want to have the latest data available if you are giving a presentation. This way you can make sure your slides are accurate and reflect the realities on the ground.

However, there are times when you need to create a presentation because your colleagues are still compiling data. How can you ensure that any changes you make to your Excel database are reflected in your PowerPoint slide?

This is where the Paste Link function comes in. Here’s how to use it to make sure you always have the latest database and graphics information on your presentation.

Link your Excel data to PowerPoint

paste the link in the special window paste for powerpoint

To link your Excel table to your presentation, it must first exist. If your coworkers haven’t created it yet, you can create a placeholder board that you can select and copy, then ask your teammates to update its content. Once you have created the initial data, follow the steps described below.

  1. Select the table you want to copy into your presentation.
  2. Click on Copy or press Ctrl + VS (Order + VS for Mac users).
  3. Open Microsoft powerpoint.
  4. Open the presentation of the file you are working on if you already have one; otherwise click on Blank presentation.
  5. On a blank slide, navigate to Home menu ribbon.
  6. Click on the down arrow under the collage icon.
  7. To choose Special collage …
  8. In the Paste Special window, choose the Paste the link radio button.
  9. To choose Microsoft Excel worksheet object.
  10. hurry Okay.


Once done, you will see the table you copied from Excel appear on your PowerPoint presentation.

However, you need to access the source Excel file to change the content or formatting of the table you added. To do this, you can open the file where you saved it; or, you can double click on the table, and it will automatically open the source file.

Related: How to Organize Your Worksheets in Excel

Creating a dynamic chart

paste a chart and link data

One of the easiest ways to visualize, compare, and analyze data and trends is by using charts. However, if you want to create a chart from the linked Excel table you just created, you need to do it from its source file first. Once you have created the chart, you can copy it and link it to your PowerPoint file. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Select the chart you are creating in Excel.
  2. Click on Copy or press Ctrl + VS (Order + VS for Mac users).
  3. Open Microsoft powerpoint.
  4. Go to the slide where you want to place the chart you just copied.
  5. On the Homepage menu ribbon, click on the down arrow under the collage icon.
  6. In the Paste options, you can either choose Use destination theme and link data (L) Where Keep source formatting and link data (F). These are respectively the third and fourth icons. The first option lets you use whatever theme you use for your presentation, while the second keeps the look of your source Excel file.
  7. Once you’ve pasted your graphic, you can move it around as needed.

Related: How to Create Powerful Charts and Charts in Microsoft Excel

Update your chart

refresh chart data

Unfortunately, if you need to make any changes to your chart, you will have to open its source data in Excel. If you have access to the Excel file, you can just make changes directly, and it should be reflected on the PowerPoint chart automatically.

If you have not opened the Excel file, you can right click on the PowerPoint chart, and then choose Modify data > Edit data in Excel from the context menu. You can also select Modify data > Modify data to open a small window if you only need to make minor changes.

If the changes you make are not reflected automatically on the PowerPoint chart, you can update it manually. To do this, click on your card, go to the Menu ribbon Graphic design, then click Refresh data. This will extract the latest information from the linked Excel file and update the information displayed on your PowerPoint chart.

Format your Excel linked PowerPoint chart

chart style options

Unlike your Excel data table, changes you make to the chart design in Excel will not affect your chart in PowerPoint. For this reason, you should finalize the design and feel of the chart you are copying from in Excel before you copy it into your presentation.

You can also make design changes to your PowerPoint chart independently. This means that you can change the appearance of your presentation chart without affecting the chart that you copied from Excel.

To make these changes, click on your chart, then navigate to the Menu ribbon Graphic design. You can choose how the graph feels under Chart styles. If you think the current chart type doesn’t suit your presentation well, you can even change it.

Click on Change the type of chart to open a new window. From there, you can choose any type of chart from the left column.

Related: How to Create a Line Chart in Excel

Search for linked files

powerpoint file information

Sometimes you can’t remember if the tables and charts in your presentation are linked to an Excel file. Or you might have linked your PowerPoint data to a spreadsheet but can’t remember where you saved it.

You can directly check the PowerPoint file if it is linked to a file and where those files are located. To do this, click on To file in the menu ribbon. In the full screen menu that opens, go to Info in the left column.

Under the Info window, on the right hand column, go to Related documents. Click on Open file location to see where linked files are saved.

If you moved the linked Excel files, click Edit links to files. A Links window will appear showing each linked object and the location of the file attached to it. The window offers you four choices:

  • Update now: update the object data with the latest modifications from the linked file.
  • Open source: Open the linked Excel file.
  • Change source …: Opens a File Explorer window to modify the linked file.
  • Link breaking: remove the link from your presentation.

Always stay up to date

This cool feature first appeared in Microsoft Office 2010 and has been available to all Office users ever since. So every time you make a presentation based on incomplete data, you don’t have to worry about updating it manually in the future.

By copying the Excel information and then pasting it into your presentation as a linked item, you can be sure that you have the latest data automatically updated in your PowerPoint file.

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About the Author

Harry D. Gonzalez