Linked objects and embedded objects

When you insert content as an object, you create a dynamic link between the content that you insert and the content that was created in another Microsoft Office program. Unlike when you paste content (such as by pressing CTRL+V), when you insert it as a linked or embedded object, you can work with it in the original program.

For example, if you insert worksheet cells into the document as an Excel object, Microsoft Office Word runs Excel when you double-click the cells, and you can use Excel commands to work with the worksheet content.

Understand the differences between linked objects and embedded objects

The main differences between linked objects and embedded objects are where the data is stored and how you update the data after you place it in the Word file.

You place either a link to the object or a copy of the object in the document. You can insert objects this way from any program that supports the technology of linking and embedding objects (object linking and embedding, or OLE).

For example, a monthly status report may contain information that is separately maintained in an Excel worksheet. If you link the report to the worksheet, the data in the report can be updated whenever the source file is updated. If you embed the worksheet in the report, your report contains a static copy of the data.


Linked and embedded objects in document

Callout 1 Embedded object
Callout 2 Linked object
Callout 3 Source file

Linked objects

When an object is linked, information can be updated if the source file is modified. Linked data is stored in the source file. The Word file, or destination file, stores only the location of the source file, and it displays a representation of the linked data. Use linked objects if file size is a consideration.

Linking is also useful when you want to include information that is maintained independently, such as data collected by a different department, and when you need to keep that information up-to-date in a Word document.

Embedded objects

When you embed an Excel object, information in the Word file doesn't change if you modify the source Excel file. Embedded objects become part of the Word file and, after they are inserted, they are no longer part of the source file.

Because the information is totally contained in one Word document, embedding is useful when you don't want the information to reflect changes in the source file, or when you don't want the document recipients to be concerned with updating the linked information.

 
 
Applies to:
Word 2007