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How to Copy/Paste Graphs from Excel into Word or PowerPoint

Updated on: May 13th, 2024
Data Visualization in Excel
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Screenshot of instructions discussed in blog post

You’ve got two options.

(Well, if you like to split hairs, there are more options than that. But what if you’re busy and don’t have time to lose? Here are the main copying/pasting options worth paying attention to.)

Option 1: Excel Object

a.k.a. Ann K. Emery’s preferred approach

Instructions

  1. In Excel, create your graph.
  2. In Excel, format your graph. (Declutter; apply brand colors and dark-light contrast; delete the built-in title; re-size the font and graph; etc.)
  3. In Excel, make sure your Theme Colors and Theme Fonts are selected.
  4. In Word or PowerPoint, make sure your Theme Colors and Theme Fonts are selected.
  5. In Excel, copy your chart (CTRL + C, or right-click and select copy).
  6. In Word or PowerPoint, click CTRL + V to paste.
  7. In Word or PowerPoint, add your graph title.

Branding

Colors and fonts will match the destination.

Editing

You can edit the chart in Word/PowerPoint later if needed.

(You can change the colors, size, labels, etc.)

Resolution

Higher.

File Size

Higher.

Linking

You can link your Word/PowerPoint graph back to the Excel file. (Beware! Errors likely!)

Option 2: Image File

Not a fan.

Instructions

  1. In Excel, create your graph.
  2. In Excel, format your graph. (Declutter; apply brand colors and dark-light contrast; delete the built-in title; re-size the font and graph; etc.)
  3. In Excel, make sure your Theme Colors and Theme Fonts are selected.
  4. In Word or PowerPoint, make sure your Theme Colors and Theme Fonts are selected.
  5. In Excel, copy your chart (CTRL + C, or rightclick and select copy).
  6. In Word or PowerPoint, right-click, select paste, and choose the image option.
  7. In Word or PowerPoint, add your graph title.

Branding

Colors and fonts will match the source.

Editing

You can’t edit the chart in Word/PowerPoint later.

(You’d need to edit the chart in Excel, and then re-paste the graph into Word/PowerPoint.)

Resolution

Lower.

File Size

Lower.

Linking

You can’t link your Word/PowerPoint graph back to the Excel file.

(In other words, if you change the graph in Excel, then the image file in Word or PowerPoint won’t look any different.)

Purchase the Cheat Sheet

It’s here: https://depictdatastudio.gumroad.com/l/CopyPasteGraphsFromExcelIntoWordOrPowerPoint

The first 100 people get a complimentary download with code NOMOREGRAINYSCREENSHOTS.

More about Ann K. Emery
Ann K. Emery is a sought-after speaker who is determined to get your data out of spreadsheets and into stakeholders’ hands. Each year, she leads more than 100 workshops, webinars, and keynotes for thousands of people around the globe. Her design consultancy also overhauls graphs, publications, and slideshows with the goal of making technical information easier to understand for non-technical audiences.

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