How to Link to and Embed Excel Files in Word Documents

Easily access the information you need

Microsoft Word & Excel

If you’re using Microsoft Word to create business documents such as reports and business plans, it is inevitable that you will need to include data created in Excel. You have two options available for this: You can either link to an Excel document to pull the data you want into your Word file, or you can embed the Excel document itself within Word file itself.

While these are easy processes, you have to be aware of your options and the limitations inherent in each.

Here, you'll learn how to link to and embed an Excel document in your Word document.

Linking to an Excel Spreadsheet

For users who want to ensure that the information is updated every time a change is made to the spreadsheet, linking is the way to go. A one-way link is created that feeds the data from your Excel file into the Word document. Linking an Excel document will also keep your Word file small, as the data itself is not saved with the Word document.

Linking to an Excel document does have some limitations:

  • If you move the Excel file, you will need to re-establish the link in the Word document.
  • If you plan to transport the Word file or use it on another computer, you must remember to transport the Excel file along with it.
  • You must do all your data editing in the Excel document. This generally is not a problem unless you require different formats in the Word document.

Note: If you're using Word 2007, you'll want to read the article on how to link to Excel data in Word 2007.

If you are using an earlier version of Word, follow these simple steps:

  1. Open both the Word document and the Excel spreadsheet you will be linking to.
  2. In Excel, select and copy the range of cells you want to include (if you plan to insert more columns or rows into your spreadsheet, select the entire worksheet by clicking the box located in the upper left corner at the juncture of the row numbers and column letters).
  1. In your Word document position the cursor where you want the linked table inserted.
  2. On the Edit menu, select Paste Special…
  3. Click the radio button beside Paste link.
  4. Under the label As:, select Microsoft Excel Worksheet Object.
  5. Click OK.

Your Excel data should now be inserted into and linked to your Excel spreadsheet. If you make changes to the source Excel file, the next time you open your Word document you will be prompted to update the linked data.

Embedding an Excel Spreadsheet

The process of embedding an Excel worksheet in your Word document is essentially the same as linking to an Excel worksheet. The only difference is in the options you specify in the Paste Special dialog box. While the results might appear the same at first, they are dramatically different. 

Be aware that when embedding an Excel document within a Word document, the entire Excel document will be included. Word formats the embedded data to display what you selected, but the entire Excel document will be included in the Word file.

Embedding an Excel document will make your Word document's file size larger.

If you're using Word 2007, learn how to embed Excel data in Word 2007. For earlier versions of Word, follow these simple steps to embed an Excel file in your Word document:

  1. Open both the Word document and the Excel spreadsheet.
  2. In Excel, copy the range of cells you want to include.
  3. In your Word document position the cursor where you would like the table inserted.
  4. On the Edit menu, select Paste Special…
  5. Click the radio button beside Paste.
  6. Under the label "As:," select Microsoft Excel Worksheet Object.
  7. Click OK.

Your Excel spreadsheet is now embedded in your Word document. 

Was this page helpful?