PowerPoint: Where’s My Chart Data?

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:

Graphic of paste options
Paste Options

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.


  1. Dave

    I have an Excel workbook with several tabs and multiple charts per page. I built a Powerpoint using the cut&paste link option as I update the model monthly and do not wish to have to manually redo the charts. It flat does not work, When I open the presentation, whether I manually update the links or use the automatic option, the charts are trashed and I have to start again. I am using Office 2010 – any help will be much appreciated.



  2. Veronica Mount

    Have you moved either the Excel file or the PowerPoint file since you did the original paste link? In other words, is either file now sitting in a different location? If that is the case, the link would be broken – PowerPoint would not be able to see the original information.

  3. Charel

    Good day.
    I also copied charts from Excel and pasted as a link in powerpoint.
    Today I want to update the charts, but I have to click in each graph and choose Edit Data or Refresh Data.
    How can I refresh all the 120 charts at once?
    I didn’t change link file desternations.

  4. Veronica Mount

    Hi Charel,
    I can certainly see why you would want to refresh all of those in one move! In your PowerPoint file, click the File tab on the Ribbon and click Info in the menu on the left of the screen. In the right column of the Information screen, under the heading Related Documents, click Edit Links to Files. That opens a Links dialog box. At the bottom of the dialog box is a pair of radio buttons labeled Automatic and Manual. You want to select all the links in your list and choose the Automatic radio button. Then you can close the Links dialog box. Now you’ve set up the file for an automatic prompt asking if links should update, and PowerPoint should now show a prompt each time you open the file, asking if you want to update the links. If you say yes, Excel opens and gives you a dialog box also asking if links should be updated; and you will need to click Update there too.
    If your 120 links are in different files, I don’t know if this will be very time consuming or not. I haven’t worked with as large a number as that.
    I hope this is helpful.

  5. nikki

    Hello Veronica

    Thanks for your help

    I copied 30 charts from excel into PowerPoint, I then applied templates to them and saved the file… When I sent the file to the client, she stated that she wasn’t able to edit the chart data… I then double checked my file and also noticed the links were no longer captured, once I reopened the file… When I followed the relinking instruction available on the help menu, the charts still would not link…

    1. How can I relink the charts properly?
    2. When I relink them, how can my client edit the charts in PPT without having to relink every chart?
    3. Is there any way to extract the chart data without having the original excel doc?
    4. How do you relink a chart that lives in an excel doc that has 10 charts on it, how does PPT find it?

    Thanks again


    • Veronica Mount

      Remember that there are different ways to place charts into PowerPoint: you can link the Excel and PowerPoint files, you can embed the Excel file in the PowerPoint file or you can paste the chart into the PowerPoint as a picture. The last one is the most economical and trouble free if the data are not changing. When you paste the chart in PowerPoint as a link, that link relies on both the Excel file and the PowerPoint file remaining in their same relative locations to avoid breaking the link. If my Excel file was in a folder called “Projects” when I created the link, and later I move the Excel file to a folder called “To do”, I have broken the link and PowerPoint can’t find it. If you link the charts in a PowerPoint file for your client, they would also need the Excel file in order to eventually edit. Embedded charts avoid that problem because when you embed, you actually put the Excel file into the PowerPoint file so you don’t run the risk of the two files losing track of each other. The downside of embedding is that it can make the PowerPoint file very large. Are all 30 of your Excel charts in the same Excel file? So to answer your individual questions:
      1. Links rely on the two files maintaining the same relative positions they had when the link was established.
      2. If the link exists between the Excel file and the PowerPoint file, you should only have to edit the values in Excel and the PowerPoint file will update when you refresh it.
      3. Embedding, as mentioned above, is the way to keep the data readily and easily available for editing. If the chart is embedded, with it selected, go to the Design tab on the ribbon and in the Data group, click Edit Data. You are then opening the embedded Excel file – not the original Excel file.
      4. Again, embedding those 10 charts puts the Excel file in PowerPoint and you edit as in answer 3 above.
      I hope this is helpful.

  6. nikki

    Thanks Veronica, and Yes all 30 charts are in 1 excel document, under different tabs. Is this the reason, that when you relink the document, PPT is having issues finding the chart

  7. Veronica Mount

    Are you getting a message that says the source is unavailable? Again, inserting the chart with a link introduces the problem of the Excel File and the PowerPoint needing to be together in the same folder. If you get the message that the file can’t be found, in the PowerPoint file, go to File/Info/Edit Links to Files (at the right side of the screen under the image of the file). The Links dialog box will open allowing you to see where PowerPoint is looking for the original Excel file. You can use the buttons at the right to update the links if the files are not in the same location as when the link was created. But that is a pain to do for 30 charts. (You can also set whether you want the links to update automatically or manually.) It sounds like you need to either embed your charts, or if you want to link, just be sure to create a folder that has both the PowerPoint and the Excel files in it. Then be sure the two files stay together in that folder.

  8. Robert


    I have a PPT with embedded Excel data. When I update the data of the charts, everything updates correctly, but when I make changes to the data selection (I am shrinking the chart from about 15 items to 12), the PPT charts do not update.

    • Veronica Mount

      With the embedded chart selected on the PowerPoint slide, go to the Design tab on the Ribbon. Click the Select Data icon. In the Select Data Source window, select the series name and then click Edit to open the Edit Series window. The first of the two fields in this window holds the reference to the series name which is probably still correct, right? If so, just press tab to highlight the Series Values field. You can either change the cell references in that field or press and drag the cells in the data. Then click OK to return to the Select Data Source window. I found that in several sample I tried with this, the Horizontal Axis Labels adjusted automatically to match the values I selected in the data.
      Hope this helps,

  9. Sara

    I have a powerpoint file that i have 60 graphs in that are all linked to 2 excel files. When i pasted each graph in, i either did the keep source formatting or use power point formatting (i can’t remember which), but they are still definitely linked. I have made a lot of changes to the excel files, and opened the powerpoint and updated everything. In some graphs, nothing changes, in others, everything is skewed, the x axis is all messed up. I checked to see if the link shows the correct files they need to lead to, and they are correct. I can click on edit data and it opens the correct excel file, but the powerpoint graphs are still not updated! I’m very frustrated because it took me so long to copy and paste with link all these graphs, and now they aren’t doing what they should be doing.

    Same thing is happening in word, except when i update the graphs, the x axis is mixed up, it doesn’t look the same as what my excel file shows. It did update, but everything is all messed up. Thanks for any help!

    • Veronica Mount

      I am trying to picture what you are getting when you update so have a few more questions. When you paste the chart on the PowerPoint slide, do you choose there to link the chart? In the paste icon in the lower right of the pasted chart, this would be either the third or fourth icon across the choices depending on whether you want the PowerPoint theme or the Excel theme. If that is your choice then you are indeed linking the Excel file with the PowerPoint file. And, with them linked, if you change the DATA in the Excel file, the chart in PowerPoint should also reflect that new data. You will break that link if you move either the PowerPoint file or the Excel file.
      When you say that you have made a lot of changes to the Excel files, are you just changing data or are you majorly changing the look or arrangement of the chart? If I have a chart of movie ticket sales and my chart originally includes the top five grossing movies, I can the amounts for any of those movies and the linked chart in PowerPoint will update. But if I add a sixth movie to the list in a new row of data, I must change the data selection to include the new movie. Are you making those kinds of changes to your charts?
      Do you think the problem could be a size problem? Could your charts work better if they all sit on chart sheets instead of sitting on a worksheet with the original data?
      Let me know more about your data and we’ll see if we can make them behave.

  10. Margaret


    I am using PowerPoint 2011 for Mac and would like to edit a slide deck with numerous charts linked to a source Excel file. All need updating. Also, all files are located on a shared Workgroup network drive at the office. I am accessing the network drive via smb within OSX (i.e., I’m not running Parallels or any other Windows virtualization environment). The presentation was created on a Windows machine originally. The excel file is updated and the charts are refreshed in the presentation each month.

    Two problems persist and I’m hoping someone here has some advice on how to get this working on OSX without having to install Windows on Parallels or Bootcamp:

    1. Attempting to open or edit the linked Excel file (in order to Update/Refresh the data) gives me an error message that reads, “The server application, source file, or item cannot be found. Check that the path and file name are correct, or try reinstalling the server application.”

    2. When I attempt to edit the Excel file itself, all formulas referring to another spreadsheet (also on the network Workgroup drive in the same folder) are changed to that of a full path: W:/server/server name/workgroup/folder/folder/folder/filename.xlsx. Although the path is correct, the result is a #REF error.

    Since I have access to the network drive and to the files, it seems crazy that I should have to install Windows and the PC version of Office on a computer that already has a working copy of Office 2011. Has anyone gotten this setup to work? It appears that connecting to the drive via smb:// is messing up something. Any ideas?


  11. Margaret

    RE: the above post, I am running OSX Snow Leopord on a MacBook Pro purchased in December 2010, but can upgrade the software to Lion if this will fix the problem. Thanks again!

    • Veronica Mount

      I do not have a lot of experience with the Mac OS so I have consulted with some of my IT Training colleagues for their ideas and suggestions. Here are some points they brought up for your consideration.
      Is the Office 2011 SP1 installed?
      What exactly are the filenames? Are there any reserved characters being used that one OS permits and the other forbids?

      There was a known bug in Office 2008 when trying to Edit an Excel file from a pasted chart in PowerPoint 2008

      This may be a variant of that bug, with a different error message.
      I hope there might be a starting point here from which you can begin your investigation.

  12. Ryan


    I have an issue where I received a Power Point with a chart in it, and I want to edit the data. When I go to Edit Data, nothing happens. Are there any steps I can take to fix this and/or troubleshoot the problems? I am using office 2010, and I have tried working with the problem on both a W7 and XP machines. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Veronica Mount

      You say that you received a PowerPoint with a chart in it. Do you know whether the chart was embedded in the PowerPoint file or linked? If it was linked, you would also need the Excel source file from the person who created it to be able to update the chart.
      Do you get any message at all when you click the Edit Data icon?

  13. Ryan

    Thanks Veronica, When I click Edit Data, I do not get any message at all, is there any way to determine that? Based on the behavior, it seems like it must have been linked, but I really do not know at this point.

    Many Thanks, Ryan

    • Veronica Mount

      If you are using PowerPoint 2010, one way to check if there are links is to go to the File tab, click the Info choice in that menu, and then look at the panel on the far right. Under the category Related Documents, you will see the option to Edit Links to Files. If there are no links used, you won’t see that option.
      Of course the chart could have been pasted as a picture which would not allow editing the actual chart data. But you said that you do have the Edit Data icon. So that would suggest that it is not a picture. If the chart is linked, both the Edit Data icon and the Refresh Data icon will be available. If the chart is embedded, only the Edit Data icon is available.

  14. Veronica

    I have a PowerPoint 2007 file where I have a couple of charts, linked to an Excel that has been lost. Every time I click edit data I get the infamous message: “The linked file is not available. Use the Edit Links command to find the file”.

    I would like to see or copy the data to a new excel file, to be able to use the numerical data. Is there any means to make it happen?


    • Veronica Mount

      I have played with this a bit and have done some reading on it. But I fear that you may just have to manually re-create the file in Excel.

  15. Michael


    I’m having a similar issue. I have copied and pasted 30 or so charts from excel to powerpoint. I need to change the name of the excel file and the powerpoint file. How do I go about doing this and maintaining the links from excel to powerpoint? I’ve tried opening both and renaming, but it doesn’t work. I tried relinking using the Design > Select Data but it still references the old spreadsheet. I am running office 2007. I read your response above about File > Info, but I don’t have that option… is that a 2010 feature? Thanks!

    • Veronica Mount

      In PowerPoint 2007 the path to working with links is via the Office Button. With the linked object selected, click the Office Button/Point to Prepare/Click Edit Links to Files. You might have to scroll to find the Edit Links to Files choice. There you should see the list of links you have created. Select the link in question and then click Change Source. From there you can establish the new connection.
      Hope this helps.

  16. Ryan

    I have 2 users running Powerpoint 2010 with all other users running 2007. The 2010 users have all design\data features disabled. All users work off files on a domain/server.

    Any idea what the issue is?

    • Veronica Mount

      I have consulted with some of the PowerPoint experts in my group and given the details you have shared here. The only idea coming from that is the possibly that the 2007 users have caused the disabling of certain features that aren’t supported. Just a theory but difficult to tell from the information here.


  17. Shaun

    Hey Veronica,

    i have a very strange problem with some embedded graphs whereby they look correct, until you click on them to change the colours etc. At this point the chart/graph type will change and the data behind will be completely different to what you could see before you clicked. It’s as if it goes to look for the chart data and gets it from the wrong place!

    Any ideas?


  18. Oliver

    Hi Veronica,

    I am using Office 2007 and I am struggling with the import of Excel charts into Powerpoint.
    I need to dispatch a xls+ppt template to 30 units and my idea was to prepare the .xls in such a way that charts would be generated automatically in .xls, then copied to .ppt.

    2 complications:
    1) The .xls files will not be kept.(i.e. the chart in .ppt must be editable even without the presence of the .xls file)
    2) The .xls files are confidential (i.e. the whole worksheet cannot be embedded in the .ppt file)

    Basically I would like to copy an existing .xls chart to .ppt and would want powerpoint to only remember the data that is needed for the chart (and nothing else).
    How can I do this?

    Many thanks,

    • Veronica Mount

      I guess the best approach for you might be to create a slide with the Title and Content layout and click the chart icon in the center of the content placeholder to create a new chart. The Chart Type dialog box opens prompting you to choose a chart type and subtype. After you click OK, an Excel window called “Chart in Microsoft PowerPoint” opens with some default placeholder data in place. You could copy and past your data into the spreadsheet instead. The data necessary to the chart is then residing in the PowerPoint, but the slide is not linked to the original Excel file and no other data from the original Excel file is in the PowerPoint.

  19. Brian

    Hi Veronica,

    Some really useful hints in the previous answers, I’ve been having a problem with a number of charts (bar and pie) that I’ve been editing in Powerpoint 2010. In both cases, I’ve started with a template chart slide (produced by the company that I work for). I’ve updated it with data from an excel document (copied and pasted the values). I’ve saved the file and when i go back to it I can no longer click on “edit data” within the design ribbon. It’s very strange as it has only happened on a small number of graphs and I can’t figure out what is special about these. I’d like to re-edit rather than creating new charts each time. Do you have any thoughts on what could be causing the problem?

    Many thanks,

    • Veronica Mount

      This is a bit of a puzzle. Could you have a version mismatch between the template and the file you are creating? Although it seems that would impact all of your charts, not just a small number. And if you had a linking problem, you would get a message directing you to update your link.
      I’ve tried to re-create your situation without success. Hopefully someone else will chime in here with their thoughts.

  20. Mark Andrews

    A quick question you will know off the top of you head. I have tables in a powerpoint that have come for 4 excel files. I have forgotten the name of one of the excel files. I double click on the table and IO can see all the tabs but I can not find the name of the original excel file. Is there a way to do this (Office 2007)?

  21. Donna K. Jones

    Hi Mark,

    Veronica is unavailable this week, so she asked me if I could answer your question. It’s been a while since I’ve used Excel 2007, but if I am understanding your question correctly, you simply need to turn on the Web Toolbar in Excel so you can see the name of the worksheet. Here is a link to a Microsoft Office web page that will tell you how to do this:

    If this doesn’t solve the problem, let us know.


  22. Stephanie

    I can’t seem to find or customize the Chart Tools Design Tab on my PowerPoint Ribbon. How do I go about adding Chart tools Design Tab and Edit Data button in the Data group?

    • Veronica Mount

      Hi stephanie,
      You will not see the Chart Tools set of tabs if a) your chart is not selected or b) you pasted your chart as a picture. If you pasted the chart as a picture, when it is selected you will see the Picture Tools Format tab on the ribbon. You will not be able to update the picture without just replacing it. But if you linked or embedded the chart you will have the Edit Data icon on the Chart Tools Design tab of the Ribbon.

  23. Dan

    Thanks for the tips. I have a powerpoint presentation with charts that are linked to an excel file. When I click edit data in any of the charts, it opens the excel file. Is there any way to figure out which chart in the excel file is behind each powerpoint chart?

    • Veronica Mount

      One way to do that is to select the chart on the PowerPoint slide, then go to the File tab on the Ribbon. With the Info for the file displayed, the right hand column on the screen shows, toward the bottom, an option to Edit Links to Files. When you click that text, a Links window opens to show you the path to the Excel source.

  24. Ajay Tomar


    I am able to make changes in my chart using my source file, but is there any option such that the tables which i want to show in my ppt be updated by updating the source file.

  25. David Thompson

    First of all, I’m not proficient in Power Point. A board member prepared his presentation in PPT 2007 a few years back and I was then given the responsibility of updating his charts with new data as each year becomes history. Most of the PPT is chart data with years displayed of certain data fields ie revenue types, etc. I can go in and update like the first 5 charts of data adding 2011 history to the next set of data fields. I get to the 6th chart and right click to EDIT / OPEN EXISTING / and for some reason the chart of data that I want to change goes BACK and displays a chart from 1 or 2 slides back. Any solution. Can I send you the PPT file for you to look at to see if it’s corrupt?

    Thank you,

    PS this is very frustrating!!! to say the least

    David Thompson
    Georgia Eye Bank

  26. David Thompson

    PSS – None of these charts of data are linked to other charts that I know of

    • Veronica Mount

      This file was actually created in PPT 2003 and opens in 2007 or 2010 in Compatibility Mode. In this situation, some of the tools for working with charts are not enabled. Go to the File tab and the Info choice in that menu and click the icon labeled Convert. I would also save the file as a newer version file. With a chart selected, you should then find the tools you need to update your charts on the Design tab of the Chart Tools section of the Ribbon.

  27. Gomel

    have bunch of linked charts in powerpoint 2010
    Do you know an easy way to convert all those charts to embedded ones? w/o recreating manually.
    I don’t care about underlined data , even if I get random data while converting – it’s ok. I care about chart formatting, labels, etc

    • Veronica Mount

      I don’t know if this will give you exactly what you want, but here is an approach you can try. Go to the File tab/Info/Edit Links to Files on the far lower right of the window. Click Edit Links to Files and in the Links window that opens, select all the links you want to break (using click/shift/click or click/ctrl/click). Then click the Break Link button at the right.
      The effect is not exactly the same as an embedded chart because the chart elements (like title font, font size, bar colors, etc.) are still editable. You still have the Chart Tools tabs on the Ribbon. But the Data icons on the Chart Tools/Design tab (Switch Row/Column, Select Data, Edit Data, Refresh Data) are grayed out.
      I hope this helps.

  28. Gomel

    Thanks , but is not solution to me, I need to change data later. I am trying to save time w/o recreating all charts inside PP ( instead using linked ones)
    thanks anyway

  29. Burt

    Do you know of a way to convert a Powerpoint chart into an Excel chart? I know I can embed PPT files in Excel, but what I need to do (if possible) is cut and past Powerpoint point charts into Excel, one tab per chart.

    Any way to do this?

    Thank you,

    • Veronica Mount

      My assumption is that you would like to be able to work in Excel with the data the chart represents. Is that right?
      If the chart was pasted into PowerPoint as a picture, your possibilities of doing that are not good. If, however, the chart is an actual chart – not a picture – you can work with it in Excel. Just select the chart, click the Design tab of the Chart Tools part of the ribbon, and click Edit Data.That opens Excel where you can then work with the underlying data of the chart. This works the same way whether the chart was linked or embedded.

  30. Henry

    So, here is my issue. I am working with Excel 2007 and have embeded an excel 2007 file into powerpoint presentation. Due to size restrictions I need the display on two slides.

    If I embed one part of the data on one slide and another part on the next slide the are not connected and I cannot update the totals.

    Is ther a way to link the two slides so the excel data updates on the second slide?

    • Veronica Mount

      My apologies to start with because I feel I am not fully picturing your scenario. If not, please describe further. But might it work for you to create two versions of the chart – one for slide A and another for slide B? Then as you update the data, both charts would update as well. As I say, please elaborate if this answer doesn’t fit your situation at all.

  31. Jerry

    Hi Veronica,

    First, thanks for all the help you have provided to everyone on this board. Its truly impressive. I have tried to read up all your previous answers so apologies if I missed the one that answered my particular question.

    I am using Microsoft 2010 PPT, and have a pretty large data file that has charts and tables embedded from an excel file.

    I have about 76 slide with 3 charts and 3 tables on each, so automatization is key… My issue has been discussed before, but somehow the solution still eludes me…how can I update these charts automatically? They are not linked, so all I can see when clicking on one of them is Edit Data but not Refresh Data. As soon as I edit the chart, it automatically updates, however given the size of the doc you can see why I wish to avoid that.

    Thanks in advance!
    Best regards, Jerry

    • Veronica Mount

      If you have embedded the charts, you will not see the Refresh Data icon available. But if you click Edit Data, you are actually opening the Excel file from within PowerPoint. After you click Edit Data, look at the top of the new window that opens and you will see: Chart in Microsoft PowerPoint – Microsoft Excel. So you have opened the file in its new location – inside PowerPoint. Any data item that you change in that editing window will also change on any chart where it is used.

  32. Jerry

    Hi Veronica,

    I think I may have missunderstood the meaning of embed. When I click on the chart in PPT, it opens a new sheet that has a function linked to cells in the master file with all the data (that gets updated). If I click on the ppt chart to edit it, the function is re run thereby obtaining the correct results. This is the step that I would like to avoid and just have the charts be updated directly when there is a change in the Master excel file.
    Thanks again.

    • Veronica Mount

      Try checking the Update setting in your Links dialog box. To do so, go to the File tab and look to the right column of information there. You should see a link labeled “Edit Links to Files.” Click that link to open the Links dialog box. Any links you have created will be listed here and could be fixed here if needed. But at the bottom of this box are two radio buttons labeled Automatic and Manual. If you select the Automatic choice, PowerPoint will make updates of linked data easier to complete. Then when you open the PowerPoint file, you will get a prompt asking if the links should be updated, and you just click the Update Links button. This should update all at once.

  33. Victoria

    Hi Veronica,
    I am dealing with a big presentation in Power Point that contains several charts that have been created directly in Power Point, that is, withouth any link to Excel. I would like to avoid opening each of the charts via Edit Data given the big amount of charts that I would need to open. I want to gather in one Excel document all the information that was used to populate the charts. Is it possible given that the charts were created in PPT?
    Thanks in advance.

  34. Vee

    Haven’t anyone heard of Paste – Paste Special – Paste Link – Microsoft Excel Chart Object ???

    (from the home ribbon tab)

    Really convenient, every time you open the file, it prompts you to update links. You can say OK, and it updates all, or you can say nope, and then right click and update individual ones.

  35. Victoria

    Hi Veronica,

    Unfortunately, this solution does not work with the charts as I am losing the data inside the chart. The only option not to lose the data is copying it as a picture but it does not solve the issue. I need to gather all the data from the charts in the slides to be able to manipulate the data afterwards.

    The only manual solution is entering each chart and > Edit Data, Copy & Paste the table of the values.

    Do you think a VBA code might be able to automate this task?


    • Veronica Mount

      I was surprised to learn that Microsoft disabled the ability to record macros with the 2007 version of PowerPoint. That doesn’t prevent one from writing macros – you just can’t record them in PowerPoint. So if you have the VBA skills, you might automate what you want to do.

  36. Karen

    Hi Veronica,

    My colleague passed a powerpoint file to me that contains more than a hundred charts linked to an excel file. She passed me the excel file but since the links point to my colleague’s computer, I am having trouble updating the chart links. I know I can update the charts by going to File –> Info section. But it seems I can only update the chart links one by one. Is there a way to update all charts at the same time? All 100+ charts are from the same excel file.


    • Veronica Mount

      In that Info window, have you gone to the right side panel and clicked Edit Links to Files? That opens the Links dialog box where you can see each link in the file and tell whether it is set to update manually or automatically. You would want to set each link to automatic. You can select multiple files and change the setting for all of them at once.
      I hope I have interpreted your situation correctly. If not, let me know.

  37. Karen

    Hi Veronica,

    Thanks for the quick reply to my query. Yes, I have tried Edit Links to Files. But since the powerpoint and excel files came from my colleague, the links are pointing to the folder created in her computer. I want to change all the links to refer to the folder saved in mine. At the moment, I can only do it one by one. How do I select multiple files and “Change the Source” at the same time?


    • Veronica Mount

      I have played with this a little bit and found that unfortunately the Links dialog box does not allow the Update option if multiple links are selected. The next thing to try might be a macro that would update those links for you. I do not have the mastery of VBA to provide you with that. I have done some searching online for that type of code, but haven’t found one that does exactly what you need. If you have a source for working with VBA, that might be worth investigating further as yes, 100 links updates would be a lot!!

  38. Peta

    HI, I am using Excel 2007 and have created hundreds of charts which are copied into PowerPoint (and linked) but when I update the data in Excel the changes are not reflected in PowerPoint. However, if I make the changes in PowerPoint by editing the data on each chart the changes are reflected in the original Excel file. I need a quicker way to update the charts in PowerPoint automatically without needing to edit the each of the hundreds of charts individually. Any thoughts?

  39. Linda

    What 2 primary factors should guide you when deciding to include data in a chart or table in a power point presentation?

  40. Veronica Mount

    To me the most important consideration is whether the chart or table effectively makes a point that you want to share with your audience. I would also verify that the PowerPoint slide can display the information in a way that the audience can see clearly.
    I’m sure others would have additional factors to consider. 🙂


  41. Luis Calvo

    Hi Im using escel 2010, and when Im trying to update an embended graph (I think it is an early version of graph cause it all told me to convert) when I click the graph it opens a different one, any ideas of what is happening?

    • Veronica Mount

      Is it perhaps opening a generic chart and letting you change the values to match your data? Or do you mean that it is opening a different chart that you have embedded elsewhere?

  42. Ray Garzi

    Hello Veronica,
    We’re in a bit of a loss here. A user in our domain is having issues opening a Pie chart, or actually any chart. She selects the cells and clicks on the pie or bar graphs and nothing happens. If I sign on to her computer with domain admin rights, it works fine. Can you help with this? By the way its Excel 2010 on XP Pro SP3.

    • Veronica Mount

      Where is the file stored? On her computer or on a shared network drive? Does she lack permissions to edit?

    • Veronica Mount

      Did she create the file or did someone else? It almost sounds like the sheet might have been protected, but if that were the case the chart tools would be grayed out. And of course, you would have to enter a password to edit which you evidently have not.
      You might try moving her and the file to a different machine to see if you get the same result. Perhaps you need to re-install the software.
      Some things to consider…

  43. Ray Garzi

    Ok, I renamed her profile in Documents and Settings to .old and had her sign on again. Wala… It worked. Something may have got corrupted in her profile.

  44. Robert

    Hi I’m using Office 2010

    I have some graphs in Excel that are linked to data in the same document. I then copied these graphs to Powerpoint pasting with the Keep Source Formatting and Link Data option.

    The data updated fine until I needed to change the graphs in Excel (to add in some new weeks). I altered the graphs in Excel but the powerpoint graphs do not update.

    Is there a way round this so the graphs update when I change them in Excel?

    Many thanks for your help in advance.

    • Veronica Mount

      I am wondering if you have used Excel’s table feature (Insert tab/Table) with your original data set. Doing so would cause your newly added records to be automatically included in the range for the chart. Also, did you see whether the chart updated in Excel? That would help to discern whether the problem is in Excel or in the Excel/PowerPoint connection.

  45. Robert

    In Excel the graphs were entered on a new blank tab on the document, I then created the graphs seperatley on the tab.

    I have tried selecting insert chart, but still come across the same problem.

    In the Powerpoint graph if I select ‘Edit Data’ it comes up with the linked chart (which shows the modified graph based on the new data selection) and if I select ‘Select Data’ it shows the old data selection.

    I have also tried changing the link settings from automatic to manual but none make a difference.


  46. Jon


    I am using Excel 2007 and I have about 25 charts I update weekly. I have embedded them into a power point presentation, with the intent that they will update when I update the charts in excel. I have set them up to update automatically through the “edit links to files” option in the “prepare” tab under the office button. The issue I have run into is that whenever I update the files in powerpoint, the formatting of the graphs is completely altered. This problem is mostly prevalent with the x-axis values.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.


  47. Christie

    Hi. I am using PowerPoint and Excel 2010. I am trying to link a cell into the powerpoint chart, but the option isn’t there when I try to paste it. What am I doing wrong? Both files are located in the same folder.

  48. Oliver

    Hi, I have newly installed Office 2013 on our presentation machines and I have discovered that a presentation created in an earlier version of Powerpoint looses the linked excel data whenh opened in Powerpoint 2013. This means that we are unable to use the newer version at present – is there a workaround for this? Have you come across this problem before? It appears that the data from the excel sheet is not saved in Powerpoint 2013! Thanks.

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