How to Insert Excel Data Into Microsoft Word Documents

Microsoft Excel and Word play together quite nicely

screenshot/Microsoft

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you need to insert a part of an Excel spreadsheet into a Microsoft Word document? Maybe your spreadsheet contains key information that you need in your Word document or perhaps you need a chart that you created in Excel to show up in your report. 

Whatever your reason, accomplishing this task isn’t difficult, but you do need to decide if you are going to link the spreadsheet or just embed it in your document.  The methods discussed here will work for any version of MS Word.

What's the Difference Between Linked and Embedded Spreadsheets?

A linked spreadsheet means that whenever the spreadsheet is updated, the changes are reflected in your document. All of the editing is completed in the spreadsheet and not in the document.

An embedded spreadsheet is a flat file. That means that once it is in your Word document, it becomes a piece of that document and can be edited like a Word table. There is no connection between the original spreadsheet and the Word document.

Embed a Spreadsheet

You can link or embed Excel Data and charts into your Work documents
You can link or embed Excel Data and charts into your Work documents. Image © Rebecca Johnson

You have two main options when embedding a spreadsheet into your document. You can simply copy and paste from Excel into Word or you can embed it using the Paste Special feature.

Using the traditional copy and paste method is definitely a lot faster and simpler but it also limits you a bit. It may also mess with some of your formatting, and you may lose some functionality of the table.

Using the Paste Special feature (instructions below) gives you more options on how you want the data to appear. You can select a Word document, formatted or unformatted text, HTML, or an image. 

Paste the Spreadsheet

Embedded spreadsheet data appears as a table in Microsoft Word
Embedded spreadsheet data appears as a table in Microsoft Word. Image © Rebecca Johnson
  1. Open your Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet.
  2. Click and drag your mouse over the content that you want in your document.
  3. Copy the data by pressing CTRL + C or clicking the Copy button on the​ Home tab in the Clipboard section.
  4. Navigate to your Word document.
  5. Click to place your insertion point where you want the spreadsheet data to appear.
  6. Paste the spreadsheet data into your document by pressing CTRL + V or clicking the Paste button on the Home tab in the Clipboard section

Use Paste Special to Paste the Spreadsheet

Paste Special offers many formatting choices
Paste Special offers many formatting choices. Image © Rebecca Johnson
  1. Open your Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet.
  2. Click and drag your mouse over the content that you want in your document.
  3. Copy the data by pressing CTRL + C or clicking the Copy button on the Home tab in the Clipboard section.
  4. Navigate to your Word document.
  5. Click to place your insertion point where you want the spreadsheet data to appear.
  6. Click the drop-down menu on the Paste button on the Home tab in the Clipboard section.
  7. Select Paste Special.
  8. Verify that Paste is selected.
  9. Select a format option from the As field. The most common selections are Microsoft Excel Worksheet Object and Image.
  10. Click the OK button.

Link Your Spreadsheet to Your Document

Paste Link connects your Word document to your Excel Spreadsheet
Paste Link connects your Word document to your Excel Spreadsheet. Image © Rebecca Johnson

The steps for linking your spreadsheet into your Word document are similar to the steps for embedding the data.

  1. Open your Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet.
  2. Click and drag your mouse over the content that you want in your document.
  3. Copy the data by pressing CTRL + C or clicking the Copy button on the Home tab in the Clipboard section.
  4. Navigate to your Word document.
  5. Click to place your insertion point where you want the spreadsheet data to appear.
  6. Click the drop-down menu on the Paste button on the Home tab in the Clipboard section.
  7. Select Paste Special.
  8. Verify that Paste Link is selected.
  9. Select a format option from the As field. The most common selections are Microsoft Excel Worksheet Object and Image.
  10. Click the OK button.

Things to Remember When Linking

  • If you move the linked Excel file, you break the link. To fix this, you need to follow the Link steps above and relink the file.
  • Double-click on the Excel data in your document to edit it. This opens the linked spreadsheet.
  • You can also edit the spreadsheet directly. The changes appear in your Word document once you save the Excel spreadsheet.