Import Linked or Unlinked Excel Worksheet Data into Word Files

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated February 1, 2021

Applies to: Microsoft® Excel®  and Word® 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 or 365 (Windows)

You can easily copy or import Excel worksheet data into Word documents. When you import from an Excel file, you can choose to import linked or unlinked data. If it’s linked, you will be able to update, change and remove the links.

The following are three easy ways to import Excel data into Word by copying and pasting:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Create links to the Excel data in a Word table so that when the Excel file changes, the table will update.

If you choose the second or third method, you will need to ensure that the Excel file remains in the same location with the same name or manage the link(s) using Edit Links.

Recommended article: How to Create a Table of Contents in Word

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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 the Word file when the Excel data changes.

To insert unlinked Excel data into Word:

  1. Open the Excel file.
  2. Select the data you want to copy into the Word file.
  3. Press Ctrl + C or right-click and select Copy from the drop-down menu.
  4. Open the Word file.
  5. Position the insertion point where you want the Excel data to appear.
  6. Press Ctrl + V or right-click and choose Paste Values from the drop-down menu.

With this method, the Excel data will be copied into Word as a table and the Word file will not update when the Excel file changes. Because the data is pasted into a table, you can use Word’s table tools to format it and the file will be smaller because the data is not linked.

Inserting Excel data as 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 Excel data into Word as a linked OLE object:

  1. Open the Excel source workbook.
  2. Select the data you want to place in the Word file.
  3. Press Ctrl + C or right-click and choose Copy from the drop-down menu.
  4. Open the Word destination document.
  5. Position the insertion point where you want the linked Excel data to appear.
  6. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon and select the arrow below Paste. A drop-down menu appears.
  7. Select Paste Special. A dialog box will appear.
  8. Click Paste Link.
  9. Under As, select Microsoft Excel Worksheet Object.
  10. Click OK.

Note the Paste link option on the left of the Paste Special dialog box:

Paste Special dialog box in Word to insert and link to an Excel object.

You can double-click an OLE object to jump to the source Excel file.

Inserting linked Excel data into a Word table

You can insert Excel data as a table in Word where each cell is linked to the Excel data source. This is a great method because you can maintain links but format the data the way you want in Word.

To insert linked Excel data into a Word table:

  1. Open the Excel source workbook.
  2. Select the data you want to place in the Word file.
  3. Press Ctrl + C or right-click and choose Copy from the drop-down menu.
  4. Open the Word destination document.
  5. Position the insertion point where you want the linked Excel data to appear.
  6. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon and select the arrow below Paste. A drop-down menu appears.
  7. Select Paste Special. A dialog box will appear.
  8. Click Paste Link.
  9. Under As, select HTML Format.
  10. Click OK.

HTML format is selected by default in the Paste Special dialog box:

Paste Special dialog box in Word to insert and link to an Excel file in a Word table.

Click in the table in the Word document. As long as Field Shading When Selected is set in Word Options, each cell will appear with gray shading indicating that it is a field linked to Excel. You can 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 typically occurs automatically if both documents are open. However, if you open a Word document with links and the Excel file is not open, Word should prompt 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 table. A drop-down menu appears.
  2. Choose Linked Worksheet Object and then Edit Links. A dialog box appears.
  3. Under Update method for selected link, Automatic update is selected by default. You can choose Manual update if you do not want the data to update automatically. You would then need to click the link and click Update Now to update.
  4. Make any other changes (such as breaking a link of changing the source for a link).
  5. Click OK.

The Links dialog box below displays one link:

Microsoft Word updating links dialog box.

It’s not difficult to import Excel data into Word. Typically, the biggest issue occurs when other users move or rename the source Excel file but this can be managed using Edit Links and changing the source.

This article was first published on March 13, 2016 and has been updated for clarity and content.

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Summary
3 Simple Ways to Copy or Import Excel Data into Word (Linked or Unlinked)
Article Name
3 Simple Ways to Copy or Import Excel Data into Word (Linked or Unlinked)
Description
You can easily copy or import Excel worksheet data into Word documents. When you import from an Excel file, you can choose to import linked or unlinked data. If it's linked, you will be able to update, change and remove the links.
Author
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Avantix Learning

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