How to Insert Excel Data into Word Like Tables, Files, and Spreadsheets

Written by co-founder Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist.

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

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.

Let’s take a look at how to get that data from one app to another.

*This tutorial is for Excel 2019/Microsoft 365 (for Windows). Got a different version? No problem, you can still follow the exact same steps.

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, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

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 objects from Word and insert them into Excel worksheets.

Get your FREE exercise file

It’s easy to embed Excel tables in Word documents, but it’s also a good idea to get some practice.

Grab the free example worksheet below and follow along!

cloud-download

BONUS: Download the Excel To Word Exercise Workbook File to go along with this post.

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 Microsoft Word document.

On the first sheet in the workbook, you’ll see a small table. Select and copy it.

copied-table

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

You’ll see a table like this one:

word-table

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, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

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

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

paste-excel-table

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

excel-worksheet-object

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:

excel-in-word

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

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.

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

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

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.

Linking Excel objects in Word

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.

Copy the table from the example workbook, and head back to Microsoft Word. 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:

word-paste-link

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

word-tables-types

There’s an important difference, however. Let’s go back to Excel and change one of the values.

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

Here’s what happens:

linked-excel-table

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.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Inserting new Excel worksheets
in Word

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, however, 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, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

To get a new worksheet object into word, go to the Insert tab on the Ribbon.

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

insert-excel-object

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.

excel-editor-word

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

Work smarter with Microsoft Office

Although it takes a lot of flak, Microsoft Office has some very powerful features that let you use the apps very efficiently. Linking worksheets in Word documents is one of those features.

The more you can automate, the more time you’ll save. And the more time you save, the more efficient you’ll be.

So start using Word and Excel together today!