Add an Excel Chart to Your PowerPoint Presentation

Young african businessman at a seminar working something on computer
Have your PowerPoint charts instantly update from changes in Excel. lovro77 / Getty Images

Charts can add a little extra punch to your PowerPoint presentation instead of listing bullet points of data. Conveniently, any chart created in Excel can be copied and pasted into your PowerPoint presentations. As an added bonus, any chart in your PowerPoint presentation can update with any changes made to the original Excel data.

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Copy Your Chart From Excel

Screenshot of Excel showing how to copy a chart

Before you can paste your chart into PowerPoint, you must open the Excel file containing the chart that you wish to copy. Merely right click on the chart and then choose the Copy option from the shortcut menu.

To assure that you are copying the entire chart from Excel, and not a portion of the chart, click on its border and not elements within the chart itself.

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Choose How to Paste Your Chart

Screenshot of PowerPoint showing how to paste a chart

Open PowerPoint and navigate to the slide where you wish to paste the Excel chart. Once you are ready to paste the chart, select the small drop-down arrow, next to the Paste option in the Home tab. You will be presented with a number of different options for pasting your chart into PowerPoint:

Use Destination Theme & Embed Workbook: This option will post your chart into PowerPoint, allowing you to edit it in the future from within PowerPoint while matching your presentation's color scheme.

Keep Source Formatting & Embed Workbook: This option will post your chart into PowerPoint, allowing you to edit it in the future from within PowerPoint but it will keep the original color scheme from Excel.

If you intend to update your chart from within Excel, you must select a paste option that includes the function of Link Data, otherwise, your chart will not update with any changes made to the original file.

Use Destination Theme & Link Data: This option will post your chart into PowerPoint, allowing you to edit it in the future by making changes to your original data in Excel; the chart will match your PowerPoint presentation's color scheme.

Keep Source Formatting & Link Data: This option will post your chart into PowerPoint, allowing you to edit it in the future by making changes to your original data in Excel; the chart will keep the original color scheme from Excel.

Picture: This option will post a picture of your chart into PowerPoint. The picture is not editable and will not be tied to any data.

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Updating Excel Charts in PowerPoint

Screenshot showing data update across PowerPoint and Excel

If you selected to Link Data when pasting your chart from Excel into PowerPoint, any changes made to the original spreadsheet file will update the chart in PowerPoint. In the image above, notice that the corresponding chart in the PowerPoint file immediately changed to reflect our new data in Excel.

Force a Manual Data Refresh

If you have edited your chart's information in Excel, but it has yet to update in PowerPoint, first ensure that you pasted the chart with the Link Data option. If you did paste the chart properly, use the Refresh Data option under the Chart Design tab to synchronize your data.

Your chart must be actively selected for the Chart Design tab to show in the ribbon.

Microsoft Office Update Prompt

Each time you open a PowerPoint presentation that is linked to another Microsoft Office product, such as Excel or Word, you will be prompted to update the links in the presentation file. If you trust the source of the presentation, then choose to Update Links. All links to other documents will be updated with any new changes.