How to Insert an Excel file into MS Word (3 Easy Ways)

Word documents are for word processing while Excel files are for data processing. But what if you need to combine the two? What if you need to display a part of your Excel data in, say a sales report that’s in a Word file?

You’re probably aware of the easiest technique that involves copying the table from Excel and pasting it into Word.

This technique, though quick and easy, has certain limitations.

However, there are other techniques to insert an Excel file into your Word document that allow for a lot more flexibility.

In this tutorial we will look at three ways to insert an Excel file into Word:

  • By simple copy-pasting
  • By Inserting as an embedded object
  • By inserting as a linked object

Inserting an Excel File into Word by Simple Copy-Pasting

This first copy-paste method is the easiest. It’s just like copy-pasting data from one sheet in Excel into another.

In fact, you have probably already used this technique plenty of times. The method simply involves the following steps:

  1. Select the part of the Excel file that you want to insert into your Word file
  2. Press CTRL+C to copy (or right-click on the selection and then click on Copy)
Data in Excel that needs to be copied
  1. Open the Word file where you want to insert this data
  2. Place your cursor where you want to insert the Excel table
  3. Press CTRL+V to paste
Data from Excel Pasted in MS Word

Once you’ve pasted the data into Word, you get a table with the data that you copied. This works the same way as a regular Word table.

You can press the tab key to navigate through the table, you can edit the contents, you can delete rows and columns, or insert new rows and columns. 

However, the changes you make to the pasted table do not get reflected in the original Excel file.

Moreover, any changes you make to the original Excel file will not automatically get reflected in your pasted table, unless you paste it again.

This method, though easy, does not offer much in terms of flexibility. It’s best used when you have a final table/data in Excel and you want it in Word (as a static table).

While this method works as expected in most cases, there are some minor issues you may face when using the simple copy paste to insert Excel data into Word:

  • You might lose some of the formatting from your original table structure
  • It will not be possible to copy larger tables
  • If you have any formulas in the original Excel file, they will get pasted as values. So you cannot use Excel formulas in the table once it is pasted to Word

If you want to take advantage of Excel formulas inside Word, then the next two methods might work better for you.

Inserting an Excel File into Word as an Embedded Object

An alternative way to insert an Excel file into Word is by inserting it as an embedded object.

An embedded object is an object that is created with one application and then embedded into a document that is created by another application. 

For example when you embed an object or file created in Excel into a document created in Microsoft Word.

This is made possible by the Windows OLE technology (Object Linking and Embedding).

Embedding the object, rather than just pasting it, ensures that the object retains its original format.

Moreover, you get to alter the embedded object using the original program. This means that you can open the embedded Excel file from Word itself and make changes in it.

To embed an Excel file into a Word file, follow the steps below:

  1. Select the part of the Excel file that you want to insert into your Word file
  2. Press CTRL+C to copy (or right-click on the selection and then click on Copy)
  3. Open the Word file where you want to insert this data
  4. Place your cursor where you want to insert the Excel table.
  5. Under the Home tab, click on the dropdown of the Paste button (in the Clipboard group).
  6. Select the ‘Paste Special’ option.
Paste Special in MS Word
  1. This will open the Paste Special dialog box. From this box, select Microsoft Excel Worksheet Object (in the group of options under ‘As’).
Paste as Microsoft Excel Wroksheet object
  1. Click OK

This will insert the copied cells into your Word doc.

Copied cells pasted in MS Word

The size of the embedded object might not fit correctly to your Word doc’s margins. So you can go ahead and resize it as required.

Resize the table in Word as needed

Note: The inserted table is not a regular Word table. It is, in fact, an Excel table. So you can apply formulas and work on it as a regular excel table. 

If you want to edit the table, simply double-click inside the object. It will open the spreadsheet in an Excel interface (felt like pure magic when I first used it). 

Double click on the word table to edit it

You can come out of edit mode when you click outside the object window.

It is important to note, however, that any changes you make to the object will not get reflected to the original Excel file. Similarly, any changes you make to the original Excel file will not get reflected in this object.

This is because the object is basically just a copy of the original file. It is not linked to it. If you want even more flexibility, the next method may be helpful for you.

Inserting an Excel File into Word as a Linked Object

You will get the most flexibility if you insert your Excel data into Word as a linked object.

A linked object is different from an embedded object in that the embedded object is like a snapshot or copy of the original file, while a linked object maintains an active connection between both files. 

This means that editing the source file will cause the changes to also get reflected in the target file and vice-versa, provided that both documents are open.

So if I use this method and then change anything in the original Excel file, it would be reflected in the Word data as well.

To insert an Excel file into a Word file as a linked object, follow the steps below:

  1. Select the part of the Excel file that you want to insert into your Word file.
  2. Press CTRL+C to copy (or right-click on the selection and then click on Copy)
  3. Open the Word file where you want to insert this data
  4. Place your cursor where you want to insert the Excel table.
  5. Under the Home tab, click on the dropdown of the Paste button (in the Clipboard group).
  6. Select the ‘Paste Special’ option.
  7. This will open the Paste Special Dialog box. From this box, select Microsoft Excel Worksheet Object (in the group of options under ‘As’).
  8. Make sure that the ‘Paste link’ radio button (on the left side of the window) is checked.
Select the Paste link option
  1. Click OK.
  2. This will insert the copied cells from MS Excel as a linked object into your MS Word document.
  3. Once again, resize the object in your Word doc as required.
Data pasted in MS Excel

You will notice that other than the addition of step 8, the procedure is more or less the same as inserting an embedded object.

The linked object works more or less like an embedded object, with an important difference.

When you double click the table in Word, the file will open in Excel. 

Double click to open the original linked Excel file

If you make a change to the original file in Excel, the changes get updated to the table in Word, even if you don’t save the changes in the Excel file.

In case the changes are not updating automatically, right click on the table in Word and then click on Update Link.

Also, remember that for this method to work, it’s important that the source Excel file is also open. If you make any changes to the Excel file and close it, and it doesn’t get updated in the Word file, trying to update it by right-clicking and using the Update Link option wouldn’t work.

In this way, the linked object works almost like a live view of the Excel file from Word.

This method is especially useful if you’re trying to create something like a real-time dashboard in Word, displaying important tables from multiple Excel files.

These are three different ways in which you can insert an Excel file into Word.

As you must have noticed, all these methods have their pros and cons. Personally, if like the second method where we embedded Excel as an object into Word. That allows me to be a lot more flexible and use all the functionality of Excel from within the Word document.

Also, the methods covered here can also be used to insert an Excel file into other MS applications such as PowerPoint.

I hope this tutorial was useful and easy to follow.

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