How to Link Excel Data with a Graph in Word or PowerPoint
by Jim Gordon
Microsoft Macintosh MVP
Revised January, 2014
These instructions were designed for users of Macintosh versions of
Microsoft Office 2011. The instructions apply to Excel 2008 and
Excel 2011 for Mac. Users of Windows versions of Microsoft office
may wish to reference an article titled Graphs
Don't Update Automatically on the PowerPoint FAQ web site.
Follow these instructions to create
a graph that is linked to a range of data cells in an Excel
When the workbook’s data is
changed, the new information in the range of cells will update the
graph that is located in Word or PowerPoint.
Start with a range of data in an Excel workbook. Type the following
into an Excel workbook to follow along with this example:
Next, save the Excel workbook. Leave the workbook open, as we
will return to it.
Now switch to Microsoft Word or PowerPoint. Click in the document or
on the slide where you want the graph to appear. In Word, the graph
will appear at the blinking cursor position.
From the menu choose INSERT then OBJECT…
Then choose Microsoft Graph Chart.
This will open a default graph in the Microsoft Graph program. You
should see a spreadsheet and a small picture of your graph, and the
program name in the upper left corner of the screen should be Graph,
It should look like this:
Next, switch to Excel (click the Excel icon in the Dock, use
ALT+TAB, or click on any visible part of the Excel workbook if it is
visible in the background, or use Spaces, or whatever way you like
to switch applications).
In Excel, select (highlight) the data range. Then use Edit > Copy
from the menu (or Apple+C). If you have done this correctly, you
should see the range selected and “crawling ants” around the data
range in Excel. Don't click anywhere.
Next, switch back to the Microsoft Graph program (it has its own
badge on the Dock, or use ALT+TAB). Select (highlight) the sample
Next, in Microsoft Graph, on the Graph menu choose EDIT
> PASTE LINK. In the resulting dialog, click OK to replace
the sample data with the linked data from Excel. Your data sheet
should now look like this (View > Datasheet from the Microsoft
and the graph will look like this after you pasted the linked data:
You can customize the graph to your liking at this point. Use the
Toolbar and Menus in Microsoft Graph to change the chart type and
customize the graph as desired.
When you are done customizing your graph, From the Microsoft Graph
menu choose QUIT AND RETURN (or Apple+Q) to return to Word or
Save the Word or PowerPoint document. The link has now been made and
To refresh the graph with the current information from Excel.
Double-click the graph in Word or PowerPoint.
As soon as Microsoft Graph opens it will update the graph with the
current information from the Excel workbook from which the graph was
created and you can close Graph right away (Apple+Q) to return to
your updated document.
Method #2 (This option is
for PowerPoint 2011 only).
PowerPoint MVP Shyam Pillai made a free add-in that updates links.
add-in by PowerPoint MVP Shyam Pillai
Double click the downloaded file named GraphUpdate.zip to extract the actual add-in file
Move GraphUpdate.ppa to a
location that you can remember, such as your Documents folder.
Consider making an Add-Ins folder in your Documents folder so you
can store all your add-ins in one place.
You may delete GraphUpdate.zip file
that was downloaded.
From PowerPoint's Tools menu choose Add-Ins
Click the Add button
Navigate to the Applications folder
Select the file GraphUpdate.ppa
Click the Open button
Click the Enable Macros button
Click the OK button
Now, at the bottom of PowerPoint's Tools menu is a new command:
Use the Update Charts command whenever you want to update charts
with fresh data from data source workbooks. The process takes some
time and it will appear that nothing is happening or that PowerPoint
is not responding for a while. Be patient while the add-in does its
work to update all the linked data within the presentation.
Caveats about using links
1. If the name of the source Excel workbook is changed,
or if the source is moved to a new location, the links to that
source will break and will have to be re-created in order to work
2. When you double-click or update a linked graph,
Microsoft Graph will start up Excel if it is not already running.
This is not fast and it will appear that nothing is happening for a
while. Be patient.
3. Be sure to make a notation in the data source Excel
workbook that you have made a link to the workbook. If you delete
the workbook or make it inaccessible then the linked graph will no
Add-ins are applications that extend the capabilities of Microsoft
Office. They can be robust Macintosh applications or very simple
programs that you create yourself, often to automate repetitive
tasks or to create a feature that you wish Office had but does not.
You create desired functionality yourself using Visual Basic for
Applications (VBA), which comes with Microsoft Office.
I encourage everyone who has Microsoft Office to take a stab at learning
Microsoft Excel in Macintosh Office can use data sources such as web
queries and Microsoft Access databases. It is possible to use almost
any existing data source for PowerPoint and Word graphs via
2011 for Mac All-in-One For Dummies