Insert a chart from an Excel spreadsheet into Word

The simplest way to insert a chart from an Excel spreadsheet into your Word document is to use the copy and paste commands.

Example of an Excel chart pasted into a Word doc

You can change the chart, update it, and redesign it without ever leaving Word. And if you change the data in Excel, you can automatically refresh the chart in Word.

If you’d rather create an Excel chart in Word from scratch, see Create an Excel chart in Word.

  1. In Excel, click the chart, and then press Ctrl+C or click Home > Copy.

  2. In your Word document, click where you want the chart to appear, and press Ctrl+C or click Home > Paste.

    Note: The chart is linked to the original Excel spreadsheet. If data in the spreadsheet changes, the chart updates automatically.

Update a chart

  1. Click the chart.

  2. On the Chart Tools Design tab, in the Data group, click Refresh Data.

You can change the design or data for a chart in Word.

Note: You can't edit a chart that was inserted as a picture, but you can adjust it. Click the chart, and then on the Picture Tools Format tab, in the Adjust group, choose an option.

  1. Click the chart.

  2. On the Chart Tools Design tab, in the Data group, in the Edit Data list, choose one of the following:

    • Choose Edit Data to edit the chart in Word.

    • Choose Edit Data in Excel.

You also can modify the chart in Word by using any of the four buttons that appear when you click the chart.

Image of an Excel chart pasted into a Word doc and four layout buttons

From top to bottom, the buttons are:

  • Layout Options
    Choose how your object interacts with the text around it.

  • Chart Elements
    Add, remove, or change chart elements such as the title, legend, gridlines, and data labels.

  • Chart Styles
    Set a style and color scheme for your chart.

  • Chart Filters
    Edit what data points and names are visible in your chart.

Click any button to view available options.

  1. Click the chart.

  2. On the Chart Tools Design tab, in the Data group, click Edit Data.

    Note: The chart opens in Excel for editing.

There are five options for pasting an Excel chart into Word. Two options embed a copy of the whole workbook, another two keep the chart linked to the original workbook instead of embedding it, and one converts the chart into a picture. If none of those options do exactly what you want, you also can click Paste Special.

From Excel

  • In Excel, click the chart you want to paste into Word, and then press Ctrl+C or click Home > Copy.

In Word

  • In Word, click Home, and in the Paste list, choose one of the five Paste Options.

    Button group of five options for pasting Excel charts into Word

Note: Hover over a button to read a description of the option.

Paste option

Color theme

Data refresh

Use Destination Theme & Embed Workbook

Matches the Word theme

Embeds a copy of the Excel workbook with the chart. The chart doesn’t stay linked to the original workbook. To update the chart automatically, change the data in the embedded workbook.

Keep Source Formatting & Embed Workbook

Keeps the Excel theme

Embeds a copy of the Excel workbook with the chart. The chart doesn’t stay linked to the original workbook. To update the chart automatically, change the data in the embedded workbook.

Use Destination Theme & Link Data

This is the default paste option (Ctrl+V).

Matches the Word theme

Keeps the chart linked to the original workbook. To update the chart automatically, change the data in the original workbook. You also can click Chart Tools > Design > Refresh Data.

Keep Source Formatting & Link Data

Keeps the Excel theme

Keeps the chart linked to the original workbook. To update the chart automatically, change the data in the original workbook. You also can click Chart Tools> Design > Refresh Data.

Picture

Becomes a picture

You can’t update the data or edit the chart, but you can adjust the chart’s appearance. Under Picture Tools, click Format.

The main differences between linked objects and embedded objects are where the data is stored and how you update the data after it's inserted in the Word document.

  • Linked object
    Information from a object that is linked in Word is stored in the source file and can be updated if the source file is modified. Use linked objects if file size is a consideration.

  • Embedded object
    Information from an Excel object that you embed in Word doesn't change if you modify the source Excel file. Once embedded, the object is no longer part of the source file and won't reflect any changes made.

  1. On the Insert tab, in the Text group, click Object.

  2. In the Object dialog box, on the Create from file tab, choose Browse, and locate the file you want to insert in the Word document.

  3. Choose one of the following:

    • To add the file as a linked object, select the Link to file check box, and then click OK.

    • To add the file as an embedded object, select the Display as icon check box, and then click OK.

You might find it necessary to open both your Excel worksheet and your Word document to carry out the procedure that follows.

  1. On the Insert tab, in the Text group, click Object,.

  2. In the Object dialog box, on the Create from file tab, choose Browse, and locate the file you want to insert in the Word document.

  3. Choose one of the following:

    • To add the file as a linked object, select the Link to file check box, and then click OK.

    • To add the file as an embedded object, select the Display as icon check box, and then click OK.

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