Top 5 Tips for Copy and Pasting into PowerPoint

Jul 18, 2019 | PowerPoint Hints and Tips, Uncategorised

So you’ve created all this information in Excel, Word or other packages but you now want to show it in a PowerPoint presentation but when you copy and paste it goes horribly wrong.  What options do you have to rectify this?

Don’t do it!

The first question to ask is whether the information should be presented on a slide in the first place.  If it is a huge set of data in Excel or a paragraph of text in Word would you be better off summarising this information and presenting that instead?  Creating a chart, for example, from the data in Excel often makes it far easier to see general trends and relative sizes.  For Word consider whether the text can be shown in a bulleted list or SmartArt graphic.  Or does it need to be on a slide at all?  Maybe it’s just something to talk about rather than show on the slide.

Pasting options for Word

Image of paste from Word

Basic copy and paste does a decent enough job most of the time but sometimes it just isn’t quite what you need.  When you paste information from Word a smart tag appears at the bottom of the paste area showing pasting options

  • Source Formatting – keeps the formatting from the original word document.  This can cause it to stand out like a sore thumb as it is not consistent with the rest of the presentation, but other times prevent changes being made that you don’t want
  • Picture – will look exactly as it does in the original document but cannot be edited
  • Text only – only pastes the text without any format.  Required formatting can then be applied

Pasting options for Excel

Image of options when paste from Excel

When you paste information from Excel you get the same options for Word but also Embed

  • Embed – this embeds an Excel file into the PowerPoint Presentation with all the functionality of a standard Excel spreadsheet.  When you double click on it Excel opens within PowerPoint and the ribbon changes to all the Excel options.  All formatting is done from within Excel.  If the data in the original Excel file changes the information in PowerPoint does not change

Pasting options for Excel and Word can also be accessed using the drop-down arrow beside the paste icon on the home tab

Paste Special

This option is available whether you paste from Excel or Word from the drop-down arrow beside the paste icon.  Paste link pastes the information as a picture but if the original data is changed then the object in PowerPoint will change too

Image of paste special

Insert Object

This is available from the Insert tab.  The “from file” option allows you to edit the data in the application it was originally created using all the Word options for a Word document or Excel options for an Excel Spreadsheet.  If link is checked then it instead inserts it as a picture which changes if the original file is altered like the embed option for Excel.

Image of insert object

NOTE: If you have created any type of link to a file and the original file is either moved or renamed then the link will be broken.  To re-establish the link select the File tab, Info and Edit links to file.  Change source can now be used to point to the new file location.  Edit links is not available until the file is saved.

There is no one option that will always work for whatever you are doing.  It depends what result you require and what information you are working with.  This article shows the options available.

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