How to link Excel to PowerPoint

Ella Hainsworth-Brear
Senior Consultant
November 10, 2023

As a finance professional, the majority of documents you produce will be built between Excel and PowerPoint, whether it’s audit reports, pitchbooks, or information memorandums, you’ll need a reliable method to link Excel to PowerPoint.

Businesses of all sizes use Microsoft Excel within their accounting and finance teams. It is the preferred software for data analysis, long-range planning, and financial modeling.

When it comes to presenting and analyzing these results, PowerPoint is the go-to software. More often than not, people will copy and paste tables and charts from Excel and then add supporting comments and analysis within PowerPoint.

However, when data changes in Excel (for example when you receive the new figures from your ERP system), you’ll need to manually update all the tables and charts in PowerPoint while being as careful as possible not to make any mistakes. This is where you’ll need to link Excel to PowerPoint.

If this sounds like you, you’re in luck! In this article, we’ll cover three different methods to link data between Excel and PowerPoint and save you upwards of seven hours in your document creation process.


  • Thousands of financial professionals use PowerPoint daily to present Excel data in an engaging and impactful way.

  • There are three options for linking data between Excel and PowerPoint. Firstly, using native copy- paste options. Secondly, using special paste to link Excel to PowerPoint. Thirdly, using UpSlide’s Excel to PowerPoint Link, which automates the process and allows for easy updating of PowerPoint with Excel data.

  • This article will help you save valuable time creating your pitchbooks and reports. Discover benefits such as one-click export, easy updating of tables and charts, automatic resizing, support for multiple versions of the Excel file, and reduced file size.

  1. Open your Excel workbook and select the chart you want to export.
  2. On the Home tab, in the Clipboard group, click Copy (or press Ctrl+C).
  3. Open the PowerPoint presentation, select the slide that you want to insert the chart into.
  4. On the Home tab click the options arrow below Paste, and then do one of the following:
  5. Select Embed if you want the chart to keep the same look and appearance as the Excel file.
  6. Or select Keep source formatting if you want the chart to use the look and appearance of the PowerPoint presentation.

How to update your data in PowerPoint:

First, right-click on the chart and select “Worksheet object from the dropdown menu. Then either:

  • Select “Edit” to open the linked data on a basic spreadsheet to allow you to make changes to the input. Changes made here will be saved to that Excel spreadsheet and it will have an impact on your source file. The interface is also limited.
  • Select “Open” to view the data within the original workbook in Excel. This works when Excel is either open or closed.

Limitations for normal Paste options

If you move the Excel file to another folder while the PowerPoint file is closed, the link between the chart in the PowerPoint presentation and the data in the Excel spreadsheet will break.

Likewise, if you duplicate your Excel file, the link will be broken with the new version.

  1. Open the Excel workbook that has the chart that you want.
  2. Select the chart.
  3. On the Home tab, in the Clipboard group, click Copy (or press Ctrl+C).
  4. Open the PowerPoint presentation, select the slide you want to insert the chart into.
  5. On the Home tab click the arrow below Paste, and then click Special Paste.
  6. Select Paste Link.
  7. Select “Microsoft Excel Worksheet Object” or “Microsoft Excel chart Object” if it is a chart.
An image showing the "Special Paste" option in PowerPoint

How to update your Excel data in PowerPoint:

  • Scenario 1: PowerPoint and Excel are open and you have just created the link: any changes on the Excel spreadsheet are automatically made on your presentation.
  • Scenario 2: the Excel file is closed when you open your PowerPoint presentation:
    You are asked if you want to “Update the links” or not.

Note: This process works exactly the same for tables.

Limitations for Special Paste Options

The range of cells pasted into PowerPoint corresponds to a fixed field (example: B2; D10) in the Excel sheet. It means that when you add columns or lines to your tables (example: B2; F15) in Excel, the linked table in your presentation will not extend but will keep the same range of cells (B2; D10), thus providing you with the wrong data.

Imagine you are working on a monthly report (May for example), and you duplicate your Excel file and your PowerPoint presentation to update them with the new figures for June. The PowerPoint presentation for June remains linked to the Excel source file of May, and you won’t be able to update your presentation with the duplicated Excel file.

> Get to know our Top 3 Productivity Tips to become an Excel Champion

As you can see, there are many problems with using the native options when linking Excel to PowerPoint, which is why many people prefer to stick with copy and paste. However, manually checking that every figure has been updated properly, plus resizing and aligning tables and charts takes a great deal of time and energy, and opens up the opportunity for errors to occur. So, how can you link PowerPoint to Excel for dynamic data updates?

UpSlide will automatically link Excel and PowerPoint, saving you valuable time while creating pitchbooks, recurring reports and more. Export Excel data to PowerPoint from the in-app ribbon, and when your data changes, update it within your PowerPoint deck with the click of a button.

Manually updating a 200 page report can take several hours to a whole day; however, with UpSlide’s fast and robust Excel to PowerPoint link, you can do it in a few seconds.

  • Export Excel tables and charts to PowerPoint with a single click.
  • Click “Update” to refresh your tables and charts with new values. Choose to update one object at a time or all at once.
  • Automatically resize your tables and charts to fit the space. If the Excel data changes, just click once and your document will update.
  • Rename, move or work on several versions of the Excel source file and still update the linked Excel parts of your documents.
  • Export your source data as an enhanced metafile, keeping the file size under control to create size-optimized presentations.
  • Find the source easily and see when the last update occurred and by whom, all within PowerPoint. UpSlide will know which source is the most recent to use in the update.

With UpSlide, file sizes are 10x lighter than with the native paste.

Let’s see in this example. (Presentation weight: Based on 100 simple charts and 100 simple tables).

Discover how Investment Bankers save upwards of seven hours per month with UpSlide >

We’re also constantly developing and improving our link to ensure that we can help our users work better in Microsoft Office. We’ve recently introduced an option to Link Excel to PowerPoint with copy and paste based on user feedback.

Started using Power BI to optimize your report creation? Or, considering making the transition to Power BI company-wide?

Leverage your Power BI reports and tell more inspiring stories with your data with our Power BI to PowerPoint Link.

We hope you found this useful. Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Ella Hainsworth-Brear
Ella is a Senior Consultant at UpSlide. Over the last 3 years, Ella has helped grow the consultant team within UpSlide UK, managing dozens of projects across leading financial and professional services companies. With a drive to help professionals work smarter, Ella creates customized solutions to address the unique needs of each client and ensure their success.

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