Excel Charts are prime examples of the old saying “A picture is worth a thousand words,” and PowerPoint presentations provide a great vehicle for passing a chart’s message on to an audience. So the combination of an Excel chart on a PowerPoint slide is a powerful way to get a point across. But what if the chart data change? How do we update the slide?
The first part of the updating answer lies in how the chart was added to the slide. Assuming the chart was created in Excel and then copied in preparation for adding it to the slide, there are basically three different ways to paste the chart – embedding the chart, linking the chart, and pasting the chart as a picture. Each of those impacts your ability to update the chart. These choices are available by clicking the drop-down arrow next to the paste icon at the lower right corner of the pasted chart:
If you paste the chart as a picture, you are establishing no connection between the underlying data and the pasted chart. This is a good choice if the data is historical and you see little need to update in the future.
If you paste the chart with a link, the original data and the original chart are still sitting in the Excel file. As long as you maintain the link by keeping the Excel and PowerPoint files in their original locations, updates to the Excel data will automatically be reflected in the Excel chart within the Excel workbook and in the chart on the PowerPoint slide.
If you embed the chart, you are placing the entire Excel file – not just the chart – in the PowerPoint file. Returning to the original Excel file and editing its data has no impact on the chart in PowerPoint. To edit the data, with the chart on the slide selected, you would choose the Design tab in the Chart Tools section of the PowerPoint Ribbon. In the Data group, clicking the Edit Data icon opens the embedded Excel file for edit. Excel calls the opened file “Chart in Microsoft PowerPoint.” This file is a separate file from the original Excel file.