How to Insert Excel Data Into Word (Tables, Files, Spreadsheets)

Microsoft Word is great for working on documents—but not so great with tables of data.

If you want to put a table into a Microsoft Word document, you can work with Word’s built-in table tools, or you can insert data directly from Excel.

Guess which one is better?

Getting your Excel data into Word is easy, makes it look better, and automatically updates. It’s a no-brainer💡

There are multiple ways of getting data from Excel into Word.

I’ll walk you through the best ones, step-by-step.

Please download my free sample workbook if you want to tag along.

Free video on inserting Excel data in a Word document

Watch my video and learn how to easily copy and paste data from an Excel file to Word.

This video walked you through how to insert an Excel table in Word so it becomes a Microsoft Word table instead.

It’s done with all the classic copy-and-paste options: keep source formatting, match destination styles,

But there are other ways of getting things from Excel to Word.

Let’s dive into those below 🤿

What is an Excel Worksheet object?

Recent versions of Microsoft Office include the capability to insert objects into documents. These objects are either embedded or linked.

Embedded objects don’t update. If you include an embedded Excel object and change data in the Excel sheet you copied it from, no changes will be applied.

Linked objects update automatically. A linked Excel object will update to reflect changes in the original Excel sheet.

You can embed and link things other than Excel worksheets, but we’ll focus on Excel objects here.

Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist

It’s worth noting that the linked spreadsheet needs to remain available for this to work.

Also, this process works in reverse, as well: you can link to Word document objects from an Excel spreadsheet and insert them there in a matter of seconds.

Embedding Excel objects in Word

We’ll start with the simpler of the two: embedding an Excel object. Let’s take a look at the example workbook to see how it works.

Open the example workbook and a blank Word document.

On the first worksheet in the Excel file, you’ll see a small table. Select and copy it.

excel tables example from original excel file

Go to your Word document, and paste the table with Ctrl + V.

You’ll see a table like this one:

example data table from excel to word doc

If you click into this table, nothing notable will happen—you can edit the names of the months or the numbers, and they’ll change.

If you try inputting an Excel formula, however, it will only display as text.

Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist

Head back to the Excel worksheet and copy the table again.

In Word, click the Home tab of the Ribbon, and select Paste > Paste Special. In the resulting pop-up window, click on the Worksheet Object, and click OK.

select object in the paste special dialog box

You’ll now see a table that looks a bit different:

how the excel file looks in the word document

At first, it looks like the distinguishing feature of this table is gridlines.

But if you double-click the table, you’ll get a surprising new interface:

Double-left-click the embedded object and it opens an Excel version in the Word doc

As you can see, this gives you an embedded version of Excel within Microsoft Word.

All because it’s a linked object. Pretty cool, huh?😎

You can do all the things you’re used to in Excel: use and edit formulas, apply conditional formatting, add new rows and columns, sort and filter data, and everything else you’ve come to expect from Excel.

And source formatting (from the Excel worksheet) is transferred to the Word document.

In short, it gives you a lot more table-editing power than you get with the standard Microsoft Word interface.

Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist

To exit the Excel interface, click outside of the table, and you’ll go back to the regular editor for your document.

If you go back to the Excel spreadsheet and make an edit in the table, you’ll see that the Excel object doesn’t update. So if your calculations change, or you get new data and add it to the spreadsheet, you’ll need to update your Word document manually.

Let’s fix that.

As I mentioned before, embedded objects don’t automatically update. Linked objects, on the other hand, do.

And this can save you a lot of time.

Fortunately, linking an Excel object in Microsoft Word is easy.

The example workbook we used previously is the source Excel file.

Copy the table from the example workbook, and head back to the Word file. Again, click Paste > Paste Special in the Home tab. Again, select Microsoft Excel Worksheet Object.

This time, however, you’ll need one more click. On the left side of the window, you’ll see two radio buttons. One says Paste, and the other says Paste Link. Click the button next to Paste Link:

link excel spreadsheet to word document

After hitting OK, you’ll get another table in your Word document. This one looks the same as the previous one:

word table from excel workbook

There’s an important difference, however ⚠️

Let’s go back to the original Excel file and change one of the values.

We’ll change May’s value from 9 to 10.

Here’s what happens:

live changes from excel file to word document due to link

It might not be super clear in the GIF above, but the linked table automatically updates to match the Excel spreadsheet, while the embedded table doesn’t.

In other words, the Excel file changes are automatically applied to the Word document.

Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist

Insert an Excel worksheet in a Word document

Linking an Excel worksheet is the best way to get Excel data into Word because Excel is the best tool for working with spreadsheets.

If you want to insert a new object, you can insert a new spreadsheet into your Word document and work on it with the in-Word Excel tool.

To be completely honest, I don’t understand why you wouldn’t just work in Excel first, but I thought you might want to know anyway!

Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist

To insert a blank Excel worksheet object into the Word file, go to the Insert tab on the Ribbon.

Click the Object button in the Text group, then find the Microsoft Excel Worksheet object option.

This opens up the trusty ol’ object dialog box.

select excel spreadsheet to insert an excel file from the insert tab into a word document

Hit OK, and you’ll get a blank worksheet in your Word document.

When you want to edit it, double-click the worksheet and you’ll open the Excel editor right inside of Word.

insert an excel worksheet from scratch

As before, you can do all the things you usually do in Excel right from Word in this worksheet.

And that’s an easy way of getting data from Excel to Word by making it an embedded object in the Word doc.

That’s it – Now what?

Linking data from Excel to Word documents is a simple automation that can save you a lot of time.

But obviously, it’s just a small part of Excel vast arsenal of functions and features.

The most important functions, though, are: IF, SUMIF, and VLOOKUP.

You learn all those 3 functions + how to effectively clean data in my free 30-minute Excel course sent straight to your inbox in just a few minutes.

Other relevant resources

If you want to automate your work between Word and Excel, you most definitely need to take a look at my guide to mail merge (I love mail merge💖).