Easily Insert Excel Charts or Graphs onto PowerPoint Slides

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated February 17, 2021

Applies to: Microsoft® PowerPoint® 2013, 2016, 2019 and 365, (Windows)

It’s easy to insert an Excel chart or graph into PowerPoint by copying and pasting. You can insert linked or unlinked charts. If you choose to link to an Excel chart, you can update the chart in PowerPoint when the Excel source file changes.

You can insert or copy and paste an Excel chart into PowerPoint as a linked object or embedded object. If you link to an Excel chart, the Excel object displays in PowerPoint but can be updated when you open the file or by managing links. If you embed an Excel chart, the object can be edited in PowerPoint by double-clicking it but it is not linked to the original Excel file.

Linked charts are stored in the source Excel file. The PowerPoint presentation (destination file) stores only the location of the source file and displays a representation of the linked chart.

If you add a lot of linked Excel charts in a PowerPoint deck, it will increase the size of the PowerPoint file so you may want to break the links when the presentation is finalized if you need to reduce the size of your PowerPoint file. It’s best to break links in a copy of the presentation.

Recommended article: How to Break, Update or Change Links to Excel Charts or Worksheets in PowerPoint

Do you want to learn more about PowerPoint? Check out our virtual classroom or live classroom PowerPoint courses >

Inserting a linked Excel chart into PowerPoint using a Smart Tag

To insert a linked Excel chart or graph onto a PowerPoint slide using a Smart Tag:

  1. Open the Excel workbook containing the chart you’d like to use.
  2. Save the workbook.
  3. Click in a blank area in the chart.
  4. Right-click and select Copy. You can also press Shift + F10 or press the Context button on your keyboard to display the context menu and then select Copy. Alternatively, press Ctrl + C.
  5. Open the PowerPoint presentation in which you want to insert the chart.
  6. Go to Normal View (click the Normal button on the bottom right) and display the slide where you want to insert the chart.
  7. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon and in the Slides group, select the Title Only layout from the Layout drop-down menu. You can also delete the body placeholder on the slide by clicking its edge and then pressing Delete.
  8. Click in a blank area on the slide.
  9. Press Ctrl +  V to paste the chart onto the slide. A Smart Tag appears on the bottom right of the chart.
  10. Click the Smart Tag. A drop-down menu appears.
  11. Select one of the options (hover over the icons to view a pop-up about each option). You can select Use Destination Theme and Embed Workbook, Keep Source Formatting & Embed Workbook, Keep Source Formatting & Link Data, Use Destination Theme & Link Data or Picture. You can also press Shift + F10 or the Context button on your keyboard to display the context menu and then select the desired option. The two Link options will create links to the original Excel file and can be managed and updated.
  12. If necessary, resize the chart by dragging the corner handles and move the chart by dragging it by its edge.

If you want the chart to keep the formatting from the Excel file, select Keep Source Formatting & Link Data. If you want the chart to use the formatting in the PowerPoint presentation, select Use Destination Theme & Link Data.

The following options appear when you click the Smart Tag:

Smart Tag options when you insert a chart from Excel into PowerPoint.

If you use the same theme colors in both the Excel file and the PowerPoint deck, you should achieve more consistent chart formatting. If the chart does not format in PowerPoint using the destination theme method, the chart may have been formatted in Excel using standard colors (which override theme colors) and non-theme fonts.

Inserting a linked Excel chart into PowerPoint using the Ribbon

To insert a linked Excel chart or graph onto a PowerPoint slide using the Ribbon:

  1. Open the Excel workbook containing the chart you want to use.
  2. Save the workbook.
  3. Click in a blank area in the chart.
  4. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon and click Copy in the Clipboard group.
  5. Go to Normal View (click the Normal button on the bottom right) and display the slide where you want to insert the chart.
  6. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon and in the Slides group, select the Title Only layout from the Layout drop-down menu. You can also delete the body placeholder on the slide by clicking its edge and then pressing Delete.
  7. Click in a blank area on the slide.
  8. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon and click Paste in the Clipboard group. A drop-down menu appears.
  9. Select Paste Special. A dialog box appears.
  10. Click Paste Link and then select Microsoft Excel Chart Object.
  11. Click on OK.
  12. If necessary, resize the chart by dragging the corner handles and move the chart by dragging it by its edge.

Below is the Paste Special dialog box in PowerPoint:

Paste Link dialog box in PowerPoint.

Updating linked Excel charts

To update the chart in PowerPoint if the Excel data has changed:

  1. In PowerPoint, in Normal View, click the chart on the slide.
  2. Click the Chart Tools Design tab in the Ribbon.
  3. In the Data group, click Refresh Data.

Refresh data button on the Ribbon.

Alternatively, you can also use the File tab:

  1. Save the PowerPoint file.
  2. Click the File tab in the Ribbon and then click Info.
  3. On the bottom right, click Edit Links. A dialog box appears.
  4. Click the link path you want to update and then click Update.
  5. Click OK.

When you copy and paste a linked Excel chart into a PowerPoint presentation, each time you open the presentation, PowerPoint should prompt you to update the links or Enable Content.

Troubleshooting linked Excel charts

In order to insert a linked Excel chart and maintain the links, you should:

  • Save the Excel workbook first before linking with PowerPoint
  • Keep the Excel file in the same folder as the PowerPoint file if you can
  • Ensure the Excel file is not moved to another folder or the link will break (you can fix this issue)
  • Ensure the Excel file is not renamed or the link will break (you can fix this issue)

If the linked file has been moved or renamed, you’ll still be able to view and print the information but you won’t be able to update or edit it unless you change the source using Edit Links.

You can double-click a linked chart object to open the Excel linked file and then edit the data in Excel. When you save the edited file and return to PowerPoint, the updated chart should appear automatically in your presentation.

Subscribe to get more articles like this one

Did you find this article helpful? If you would like to receive new articles, join our email list

More resources

How to Insert Linked or Unlinked Excel Worksheet Data into PowerPoint

How to Reduce PowerPoint File Size (10 Ways to Compress PowerPoint Decks)

How to Remove the Background of an Image in PowerPoint

Related courses

Microsoft PowerPoint: Intermediate / Advanced

Microsoft PowerPoint: Design for Non-Designers

Microsoft Excel: Intermediate / Advanced

VIEW MORE COURSES >

Our instructor-led courses are delivered in virtual classroom format or at our downtown Toronto location at 1 Yonge Street, Suite 1801 (Toronto Star Building), Toronto, Ontario, Canada (some in-person classroom courses may also be delivered at an alternate downtown Toronto location). Contact us at info@avantixlearning.ca if you'd like to arrange custom onsite training or an online course on a date that's convenient for you.

Copyright 2022 Avantix® Learning

You may also like

How to Reorder Objects in PowerPoint Using Bring to Front or Send to Back (with Shortcuts)

How to Reorder Objects in PowerPoint Using Bring to Front or Send to Back (with Shortcuts)

You can reorder objects on a PowerPoint slide using keyboard shortcuts, the context menu, the Ribbon or the Selection Pane. When objects are placed on a slide, they are stacked on top of each other. It’s common to reorder objects to change the stacking order. When you select an object and Send to Back, it’s moved to the bottom of the stack. If you choose to Send Backward, it’s moved back by object. When you select an object and Bring to Front, it’s moved to the top of the stack. If you choose to Bring Forward, it’s moved forward by object.

Use Excel Conditional Formatting to Highlight Dates Before Today (3 Ways)

Use Excel Conditional Formatting to Highlight Dates Before Today (3 Ways)

You can use conditional formatting in Excel to highlight cells containing dates before today or within a date range before the current date. In a worksheet, you can use conditional formatting to highlight selected cells by filling them with a color based on rules or conditions. This type of formatting is helpful if you want to highlight past due dates such as invoices that are 30, 60 or 90 days overdue.

Microsoft, the Microsoft logo, Microsoft Office and related Microsoft applications and logos are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in Canada, US and other countries. All other trademarks are the property of the registered owners.

Avantix Learning | 1 Yonge Street, Suite 1801 (Toronto Star Building), Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5E 1W7 | info@avantixlearning.ca

Summary
How to Insert an Excel Chart or Graph into PowerPoint (Linked or Unlinked)
Article Name
How to Insert an Excel Chart or Graph into PowerPoint (Linked or Unlinked)
Description
It’s easy to insert an Excel chart or graph into PowerPoint by copying and pasting. You can insert linked or unlinked charts. If you choose to link to an Excel chart, you can update the chart in PowerPoint when the Excel source file changes.
Author
Publisher Name
Avantix Learning

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This