There are a few different options for transferring charts out of Excel and into applications like Word or PowerPoint. In this section, we’ll copy the RC Circuit Response chart from Section 4 into a PowerPoint presentation.
First, select the chart in Excel and type Ctrl-C. Switch to PowerPoint and type Ctrl-V. The Paste Options button appears next to the lower right corner of the pasted chart:
The first two options have to do with Embedding the Workbook. The third and fourth will allow you to Link Data.
First, we’ll look at the option to Keep Source Formatting & Link Data with this button:
Choose that option, then switch to your Excel workbook. If you change the resistance to 200 kΩ, the chart will update in Excel and in PowerPoint. This is the advantage of the Link Data options – anytime you make a change to the underlying data in Excel, the chart in PowerPoint will update.
Next, we’ll look at the Embed Workbook options. Click Paste Options and choose this button: (Keep Source Formatting & Embed Workbook).
Now, if you make a change in the Excel workbook such as changing the resistance back to 100 kΩ, the chart in the presentation does not update. To see why, right-click on the PowerPoint chart and select Edit Data. A new window will open with a worksheet contained inside – this is the worksheet that the chart is referencing, not the Excel chart. The embedded worksheet is a copy of the Excel worksheet at the time that the chart was pasted.
You can edit the data within the embedded worksheet within PowerPoint, but the worksheet won’t update with any changes you make in Excel. This is a significant disadvantage to this way of transferring a chart into PowerPoint. If you make a change to your original workbook, those changes will not automatically propagate into the presentation. You may end up with an outdated chart in your slides.
An advantage to embedding your workbook is that the workbook is always going to stay with the presentation. When you link your data to the worksheet, it can be a big problem later on if a file location changes, breaking the link. Embedding your workbook will avoid that problem.
There’s also an option to transfer a chart into PowerPoint by pasting it as a picture: This option will avoid the problem of broken links, but there’s no way to update the data. If you need to make any changes to the chart, including minor changes like axis titles, you’ll have to copy and paste a new image.