If you have ever wanted to include data from an Excel file in a Word document, perhaps you just copied the data from Excel and pasted it into Word.
While this works, there are a number of limitations. One of the most important is that if the original data file ever changes, your Word document will never reflect those changes.
If any of these issues are important to you, there are better ways to insert an Excel sheet into a Word document. In this article, you will learn all the possible methods, as well as their pros and cons.
Insert Excel worksheet into Word document by copying / pasting
Of course, the fastest and easiest way to transfer data from an Excel sheet to a Word document is to simply use the Windows copy and paste feature.
To do this, open an Excel file with data, select the cells containing the data you want to add to the document, and press Ctrl-C on your keyboard.
If you place your cursor in a Word document and press Ctrl-V on your keyboard, you will notice that the cells you selected appear perfectly in the Word document.
There are a few caveats here.
The imported Excel cells become a Microsoft Word table. Therefore, if you want to format this table after importing the data, you cannot use Excel formulas or other Excel formatting functions.
The second problem is that it only works well for small data tables. If you want to copy and paste data further down the Excel table, you will lose the headers.
This is actually not very useful. In this case, you will want to try one of the options below to insert the Excel sheet into the Word document instead.
- Pros: fast and convenient, good for small tables.
- Cons: the original data is not updated and headers are lost in large tables, the original formatting is not completely preserved.
Insert the Excel worksheet as an embedded object
If you want to be able to use Excel functions and other Excel formatting functions later to update the table, it is better to paste the Excel data as an embedded object.
To do this:
- Select the section of the Excel sheet that you want to copy and press Ctrl-C.
- In Microsoft Word, place the cursor where you want to insert the data table.
- On the main menu, click the down arrow under Paste and select Paste Special.
- You will see the Paste Special dialog box. Select the Microsoft Excel worksheet object and click OK.
This will paste the copied cells into your Word document. The new object will not behave at all like a Microsoft Word table, and you will not be able to edit data inside the table from Microsoft Word.
However, you can resize the entire object to fit within the margins of your document.
If you still want to edit the data, just double-click the object and it will open the entire original spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel.
Please be aware that this is a brand new Excel file (not the original). But any changes you make and save in this Excel file will be updated in your Word document.
How it works:
- When you use an embedded object to paste Excel data, Word creates a copy of the original Excel file.
- When you double-click an object, Word opens the copied file for editing.
- You can use all of Excel’s features and formatting capabilities to make any changes.
What’s nice about this approach is that the original formatting is not changed during conversion to a Microsoft Word table. It also provides you with an “attached” Excel data file with the original data file in case you ever want to change the data or add additional data to the inserted Excel object in Word.
- Pros: Fast and convenient, suitable for large tables and retains original formatting.
- Cons: not updated with source data and cannot edit the table directly in Word.
Insert an Excel worksheet as a linked object
The best way to insert an Excel sheet into a Word document is to insert it as a linked embedded object
The procedure for this is identical to that described above, except that in the Paste Special window, you must select the Paste Link check box.
You will see that the pasted Excel data looks the same as in the previous section, but there is a significant difference.
If you go back to the original Excel file and make any changes to the data in any of the inserted cells, you will see that those changes are immediately updated in your Microsoft Word document.
The changes take effect in Word even if you haven’t saved the changes to the Excel file. Basically, it allows you to view, in real time, changes from Word that someone is actively making to any Excel file.
If you want, you can use this feature to create a real-time dashboard in Word to display any important data points that someone might change in the Excel file.
- Pros: fast and convenient, suitable for large tables, retains original formatting and instantly refreshes with the original data being updated.
- Cons: Can’t edit table directly in Word.
As you can see, there are several ways to insert an Excel sheet into a Word document. The option you choose depends only on how you are going to use this data and whether you want to see or use changes to the data in the original Excel file.
How did you import Excel data into Word before? Did you have any problems when you tried to do this? Share your experience in the comments section below.