Link or embed an Excel worksheet

When you want to create a dynamic link between the content of your document and the content in a Microsoft Office Excel workbook, insert the content as an object. 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.

If you insert the 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.

When you insert an entire Excel workbook as an object, the document displays only one worksheet. To display different worksheets, double-click the Excel object, and then click the worksheet that you want.

What do you want to do?


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.

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Update linked objects

By default, linked objects are updated automatically. This means that Word updates the linked information every time you open the Word file or any time the source Excel file changes while the Word file is open. However, you can change the settings for individual linked objects so that the linked object is not updated or so that it is updated only when the reader of your document chooses to manually update it.

You can also prevent Word from automatically updating links in all the documents that you open. You can do this as a security measure, to prevent updating documents with files that are potentially from an untrusted source.

 Important   When you open a document that contains linked objects, Word prompts you to update the document with data from the linked files. If you suspect that the linked files may be from an untrusted source, click No in this message.

In addition, you can permanently break the connection between a linked object and its source Excel file. When the connection is broken, you can no longer edit the object in the Word document; it becomes a picture of the Excel content.

Manually update a linked object

  1. Click the Microsoft Office Button Button image, point to Prepare, and then click Edit Links to Files.
  1. Click the link that you want to update manually, and then under Update method for selected link, click Manual update. Or press CTRL+SHIFT+F7.

Prevent a linked object from being updated

  1. Click the Microsoft Office Button Button image, point to Prepare, and then click Edit Links to Files.
  1. Click the link that you want to prevent from being updated, and then under Update method for selected link, select the Locked check box. Or press F11.

 Note   To unlock the link, click the linked object, and then press CTRL+SHIFT+F11.

Prevent Word from automatically updating links in all documents

  1. Click the Microsoft Office Button Button image, and then click Word Options.
  1. Click Advanced, and then scroll down to General.
  2. Clear the Update automatic links at Open check box.

Break the connection between a linked object and its source

  1. Click the Microsoft Office Button Button image, point to Prepare, and then click Edit Links to Files.
  1. Click the link that you want to disconnect, and then click Break Link. Or press CTRL+SHIFT+F9.

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Change linked or embedded objects

  • Double-click the object, and then make the changes that you want.

If the object is embedded, the changes are only in the copy that is in the document. If the object is linked, the changes are made to the source file.

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Insert a linked object or embedded object from an Excel file

  1. Open both the Word document and the Excel worksheet that contains the data that you want to create a linked object or embedded object from.
  2. Switch to Excel, and then select the entire worksheet, a range of cells, or the chart that you want.
  3. Press CTRL+C.
  4. Switch to the Word document, and then click where you want the information to appear.
  5. On the Home tab, in the Clipboard group, click the arrow under Paste, and then click Paste Special.

Word Ribbon image

  1. In the As list, select Microsoft Office Excel object.
  2. Click Paste to insert an embedded object, or click Paste link to insert a link to the object.

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Create a new worksheet within a document

When you create a new worksheet within a document, the worksheet is inserted in the document as an embedded object.

  1. Place the insertion point where you want to create the worksheet.
  2. On the Insert tab, in the Tables group, click Table, and then click Excel Spreadsheet.

Word Ribbon image

  1. Fill in the worksheet with the information that you want.

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Applies to:
Word 2007