How to Insert Excel Data Into Word Documents

These two Microsoft programs work well together

Sometimes it's helpful to include a table in a Microsoft Word document but Word tables have limitations. Microsoft Excel, on the other hand, creates extensive tables of information involving complex mathematical calculations. Make Excel data part of your Word document. When you insert Excel data into Word, decide whether to link the Excel worksheet to the document or embed it.

Instructions in this article apply to Excel for Office 365, Excel 2019, Excel 2016, Excel 2013, Excel 2010, Excel 2019 for Mac, Excel 2016 for Mac, Excel for Mac 2011, Word for Office 365, Word 2019, Word 2016, Word 2013, Word 2010, Word 2019 for Mac, Word 2016 for Mac, and Word for Mac 2011.

Should You Link or Embed?

When you link an Excel worksheet to a Word document, every time the worksheet is updated, the changes are reflected in the document. All editing takes place in the worksheet and not in the document. Use this option if you plan to make changes to the worksheet, especially if these changes involve complex calculations.

An embedded worksheet is a flat file. Once it's part of a Word document, it behaves like a piece of that document and can be edited in Word. There is no connection between the original worksheet and the Word document it's now a part of. Use this option if you plan to make minimal changes to the table data or if the data involves simple calculations.

Embedding Options

When you embed an Excel worksheet into a Word document, you can either copy and paste from Excel to Word or embed using the Paste Special feature. The copy-and-paste method is faster but some formatting may change and some table functionality may be lost. The Paste Special feature provides more options for how the data will appear.

How to Embed Excel Data in a Word Document

Here's how to embed an Excel worksheet using the simple paste option:

  1. Open the Microsoft Excel worksheet, then highlight the data you want to include in the Word document.

    MS Excel spreadsheet with some data highlighted
  2. Copy the data. Press Ctrl+C (on a Mac, press Command+C). Or, right-click the selected data and select Copy.

    Excel with the Copy command highlighted
  3. Open the Word document and place the cursor where you want the worksheet data to appear.

  4. Press Ctrl+V (on a Mac, press Command+V). Or, go to the Home tab and, in the Clipboard group, select Paste.

    Don't choose the Paste drop-down arrow.

    Word with the Paste command highlighted
  5. The data appears in the Word document.

    MS Word document with Excel data inserted

Here's how to embed using the Paste Special option:

  1. Open the Microsoft Excel worksheet, then highlight the data you want to include in the Word document.

    MS Excel spreadsheet with some data highlighted
  2. Copy the data. Press Ctrl+C (on a Mac, press Command+C). Or, right-click the selected data and select Copy.

    Excel with the Copy command highlighted
  3. Open the Word document and place the cursor where you want the worksheet data to appear.

  4. Go to the Home tab and, in the Clipboard group, select the Paste drop-down arrow, then choose Paste Special.

    Word with the Paste Special command highlighted
  5. In the Paste Special dialog box, select Paste.

    Paste Special menu in Word with the Paste Radio button highlighted
  6. Select Microsoft Excel Worksheet Object.

    Insert Special menu in Word with the Excel Worksheet option highlighted
  7. Select OK.

    Paste Special menu in Word with the OK button highlighted
  8. The Excel data appears in the Word document.

    MS Word document with Excel data inserted

How to Link Excel Data to a Word Document

The steps to link a worksheet to a Word document are similar to the steps to embed the data.

  1. Open the Microsoft Excel worksheet, then highlight the data you want to include in the Word document.

    MS Excel spreadsheet with some data highlighted
  2. Copy the data. Press Ctrl+C (on a Mac, press Command+C). Or, right-click the selected data and select Copy.

    Excel with the Copy command highlighted
  3. Open the Word document and place the cursor where you want the worksheet data to appear.

  4. Go to the Home tab, select the Paste drop-down arrow, then choose Paste Special.

    Word with the Paste Special command highlighted
  5. In the Paste Special dialog box, select Paste link.

    Paste Special menu in Word with the Past Link button highlighted
  6. Choose Microsoft Excel Worksheet Object.

    Paste Special menu in Word with the Excel object option highlighted
  7. Select OK.

    Paste Special menu in Word with the OK button highlighted
  8. The Excel data appears in the Word document.

    MS Word document with Excel data inserted

Keep these pointers in mind after you've linked the data:

  • If you move the linked Excel file (for example, to another folder), the link will break. To relink it, follow the steps above again.
  • To edit the data, double-click the table to open the linked worksheet in Excel.
  • If you edit the worksheet in Excel, the changes appear in the Word document when you save the Excel worksheet.