Import Linked or Unlinked Excel Data Quickly into Word Files

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated March 11, 2016

Applies to: Microsoft® Excel® and Word ® 2010 (also applies to 2007, 2013 and 2016)

You can easily import Excel data into Microsoft Word documents. When you are importing data, you can import it as unlinked data that will not change or you can link and then update it.

The following are three easy ways to import Excel data into Word:

  • Copy the data in the Excel file, switch to the Word document and then paste the data where you want it to appear as a static copy.
  • Import the Excel data into the Word document as a linked OLE (Object Linking and Embedding) object so that when the Excel file changes, the Word document will update as well. You will need to ensure that the Excel file remains in the same location with the same name or manage the link using Edit Links.
  • Create links to the Excel data in a table in the Word document so that when the Excel file changes, the Word document will update. You will need to ensure that the Excel file remains in the same location with the same name or manage the link using Edit Links.

Inserting unlinked Excel data

You can easily copy data from Excel and paste it into a Word document.

Use this method if you do not need to update:

  1. Open the Excel file.
  2. Select the data you wish to copy into the Word file.
  3. Press Control + C or right-click and choose Copy.
  4. Open the Word file.
  5. Place your insertion point where you want the Excel data to appear.
  6. Press Control + V or right-click and choose Paste Values.

The Excel data will be copied as a Word table which you can then format but the Word file will not update when the Excel file changes.

Inserting a linked OLE object

You can insert an OLE (Object Linking and Embedding) object when you want to insert a linked copy of Excel data. However, one of the problems with this method is that the OLE object is like a picture of the cells and you would need to format the data in Excel to appear the way you want in the Word file.

To insert a linked OLE object:

  1. Open the Excel source file.
  2. Select the data you wish to place in the Word file.
  3. Press Control + C or right-click and choose Copy.
  4. Open the Word destination document.
  5. Place your insertion point where you want the Excel data to appear.
  6. Right-click or click the Paste button on the Home tab and choose Paste Special. A dialog box will appear.
  7. Click the Paste Link option.
  8. Under As, click Microsoft Excel Worksheet Object.
  9. Click OK.

Microsoft Word paste special linked OLE object with Excel data.

Inserting linked Excel data in a Word table

You can insert a table in Word with each cell linking to Excel data. This is a great method as you can maintain links but format the data appropriately in Microsoft Word.

To insert linked Excel data in a Word table:

  1. Open the Excel source file.
  2. Select the data you wish to place in the Word file.
  3. Press Control + C or right-click and choose Copy.
  4. Open the Word destination document.
  5. Place your insertion point where you want the Excel data to appear.
  6. Right-click or click the Paste button on the Home tab and choose Paste Special. A dialog box will appear.
  7. Click the Paste Link option.
  8. Under As, click on HTML Format.
  9. Click OK.

Microsoft Word inserting Excel data Paste Special dialog box for HTML format.

Click in the table. As long as Field Shading When Selected is set as the default option, each cell will appear shaded indicating that it is a field linked to Excel. Format the table in Word.

Updating or managing links

One of the benefits of linking data is that information in a destination document updates when you change information in the source document. This occurs if both documents are open. However, if you open a Word document with links and the Excel file is not open, Word normally prompts you to update the links. You may also need to update links yourself or re-establish a link if the original Excel file has been moved or renamed.

To update or manage links:

  1. Right-click a linked object or HTML format table.
  2. Choose Linked Worksheet Object and then Edit Links. A dialog box appears.
  3. Under Update method for selected link, notice Automatic update is selected. You can choose Manual update if you do not want the information updated immediately. You would then have to click the Update Now button to update.
  4. Make any other changes such as breaking a link of changing the source for a link.
  5. Click OK.

Microsoft Word updating links dialog box.

Its not difficult to import Excel data into Word. Normally, the biggest issue occurs when other users move or rename the source Excel file but this can be managed using Edit Links.

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