Advanced PowerPoint:
Import Data

Title: Jan's Illustrated Computer Literacy 101

Did you want: Working with Presentations: PowerPoint 2007,2010,2013,2016 or español

When you want to use data from an existing spreadsheet or document, you certainly don't want to have to type it in all over again. Happily, you can import the whole file by embedding or linking it. These look alike on a slide, but behave differently when you edit.

Embed: Puts a static copy of the document inside your presentation

  • Changes you make from inside PowerPoint do not change the original data file.
  • Changes made to the original do not show in the slide.

Link: Uses data directly from original document.

  • Changes can be made only in the original document.
  • Changes to the original will show on the slide after updating.
  • Moving, renaming, or deleting the original file breaks the link. The data will remain on the slide but you will not be able to edit the data.

Where you are:
JegsWorks > Lessons > Presentations

Before you start...

Project 1: PowerPoint BasicsTo subtopics

Project 2: PowerPoint FormattingTo subtopics

Project 3: Advanced PowerPoint
    OutlineTo subtopics
    ImagesTo subtopics
    Tables & Charts Arrow to Subtopics
    Icon: Step-by-StepTable
    Icon: Step-by-StepChart
    Icon: Step-by-StepImport Data
    Icon: Step-by-StepAnimate Data
    FinishingTo subtopics
    ExercisesTo subtopics


Working with Objects

You import a file by inserting it as an object. The commands that you will have available to you will depend on what kind of object it is.

Example: Excel Spreadsheet

An Excel spreadsheet is called a Worksheet Object in the Edit menu and in the popup menu when you right click a worksheet object. Both of these menus open a submenu with three choices:

  • Right Click Menu: Worksheet Object- EditEdit        = Edit in place, changing menu and toolbars to Excel's
  • Open      = Open in a new Excel window
  • Convert = Changes another spreadsheet format to an Excel worksheet or chart (requires filters to be installed)

For Edit or Open to work, Excel (or whatever the original program was) must be installed on the computer you are working on!

Icon Step-by-Step 

Step-by-Step:Import Data

 Icon Step-by-Step

What you will learn:

to insert a file as an object
to select a sheet to display
to format imported data
to use TAB to select a covered object

Start with: Icon: Class disk,  nz-chart.ppt from previous lesson, nz-languages.xls from your resource files

The Story So Far:
You are creating a presentation on New Zealand for World Travel Inc.
You will add a chart about what languages are spoken in New Zealand. The main language of New Zealand is English and most World Travel Inc. customers speak some English, but English is not the native language for many customers.
A co-worker has found some tables from the census office in New Zealand about the languages spoken, but there is more there than anyone probably wants to know! She created an Excel file, nz-languages.xls, using some of that data. You will import a chart from that spreadsheet.

  1. If necessary,  open nz-chart.ppt from your Class disk.
  2. New Slide: LanguagesAdd a new slide to follow Rain Days.
  3. Type as the new slide's title  Languages .
  4. Icon: Class diskSave As  nz-import.ppt  to your Class disk.
    Full floppy disk How to handle a full Class disk

Import Data

When you import data into PowerPoint, you are bringing in a whole file. For Excel files, you can choose which sheet is displayed on the slide.

  1. Dialog: Insert ObjectFrom the menu select  Insert  |  Object...  The Insert Object dialog appears.

  2. Dialog: Insert Object - Create from fileClick on the radio button (circle) for Create from file and then click the Browse Button.
    The Browse dialog opens.
  3. Navigate to the resource files on your hard disk and select nz-languages.xls
    or enter the path
    c:\My Documents\complit101\presentations\nz-languages.xls

    Dialog: Browse
    If you do not find this file on your hard disk, you can download it.

  4. Click on OK.  The Insert Object dialog changes to show the path to the file you selected.

    Dialog: Insert Object - path to file

  5. Languages slide with initial large tableClick on OK. The sheet that was showing when the file was last saved is displayed on the slide, centered.
    Ick! What a horrible table for a slide. Far too many table entries and text is far too small.
    Before making any formatting changes, let's look at this file in Excel and see if there is something else there that you can use instead!
    TipIf AutoLayout is on, the table will be sized smaller to fit in the Body placeholder. Makes a bad situation even worse!

Open Object

One of the advantages of importing your data as an object is that you can edit it in place with the original program. It's as easy as a double-click!

  1. Double-click the table on the Language slide.  Several things change!
    • The table turns into a spreadsheet.
    • The toolbars change to Excel toolbars.
    • Navigation buttons from Excel show up at the bottom of the table.
    • Menus change to Excel menus

    PowerPoint window with object open in Excel.

    These changes happen only if you have Microsoft Excel installed on the computer.

    Right Click Menu: Worksheet Object - EditAlternate method: Right click the table. From the popup menu choose Worksheet Object and then Edit.

  2. Navigation arrow at the bottom of the spreadsheetClick on the right arrow in the navigation bar at the bottom of the spreadsheet. There are two more sheets in this Excel file.
    If the spreadsheet is too narrow to read the full chart names, you can resize it by dragging on one of the resizing handles.
  3. Sheet tabsClick on the last tab, Chart-Non-English Languages. The display changes to show the chart sheet.
    You need to resize and position this object!

Edit Object

While your object (the spreadsheet) is in this window, you can make changes. Since you did not Link this object back to the original file, your changes don't affect the original at all. You are free to play!

  1. Drag chart left by its borderIf your chart is off the slide to the right, move your mouse pointer to the inside edge of the border and drag left. The mouse pointer does NOT change shape in this case.
  2. Chart resizedResize the chart by dragging the corner handles. (The display may look like overlapping charts but there aren't really two of them.)
    You don't need the chart title so let's remove it.

  3. Chart title selectedClick on the chart title to select it.
  4. Press the DELETE key. The whole chart resizes to use the space.
    You can change the font and remove some of the numbers to make the axes easier to read.
  5. Right Click Menu:Format AxisRight click on the number labels for the Y-axis.

  6. Dialog: Format Axis - ScaleSelect the Scale tab.
  7. Change the major unit to 40000.

  8. Dialog: Format Axis - Font - changed size to 20Select the Font tab.
  9. Change the font size to 20.
  10. Click on OK.
  11. Right click on the language names across the bottom (the X-axis) and select Format Axis.
  12. In the Format Axis dialog, select the Font tab and set the Font Size to 20.
  13. Click on OK.
    Chart frame off the slide at the bottomIcon: TroubleChart frame is off the slide at the bottom:
    You need to change the Zoom setting to see the bottom of the frame. If you try to scroll to see it, you will probably slip over to the next slide. So frustrating!
    Button: Zoom - list of choicesOn the Formatting toolbar, change the Zoom to the next smaller percentage. Can you see the handles at the bottom of the chart's frame? If not, try smaller Zoom settings until you can see the handles.
    Slide with object frame showing chartDrag
    the bottom center handle up until the chart frame is fully onto the slide. The language labels may turn vertical, as in the illustration at the right.

    When you resized the chart, the font size for the axes labels may have dropped from 20 to 18.

     Chart frame is too shortIcon: TroubleChart area is too small: Drag the bottom edge of the chart frame down to the edge of the slide.
  14. Languages slide with chart formattedClick on the slide, outside of the chart area.
    The Excel features vanish and those finicky labels slant again. Your chart may look different if its size is different.
    So confusing when what you see while editing is not what you see on the slide!!

Select & Delete Placeholder Under Chart

Is the original text placeholder is still here underneath the chart? It won't show when the slide is shown. But you can get rid of it.

You will to use a new technique to get at it. The TAB key comes to the rescue!

(Even if your text placeholder vanished, read through the steps to see how get to an object that is covered by another object.)

  1. Clicking on the words Click to add text, selected chart insteadClick on the words Click to add text to try to select the placeholder. Did the placeholder's border turn to dots? Probably not. As the illustration at the right shows, the circle handles for the chart are showing.
    Since the chart is stacked on top of the placeholder, it was covering those words.
  2. Text placeholder selectedPress the TAB key on your keyboard. The Title text box is selected.
  3. Press TAB again. NOW the text placeholder is selected.
  4. Press the DELETE key. The placeholder vanishes. Much neater!

Text placeholder has been deleted

Alternate method- Change Stacking Order: Select the chart. From the Drawing bar, click the Draw button and select  Order | Send to Back . This puts the chart underneath the text box. Now you can select the text box and delete it.

Add Text Box and Format

The chart does not include the number of people who speak English. The bar for English would be so tall that the other bars would be impossible to read! You can add that information in a text box, as a kind of subtitle for the slide.

  1. Create Text Box: On the Drawing bar, click the Text Box button Button: Text Box. When you move your mouse over the slide, the pointer changes to Pointer:Text box vertical bar with a small crossbar near the bottom.
  2. New text box = English Speakers = 3,425,304Click underneath the Title placeholder. A small text box appears with the cursor in it, ready for your typing.
  3. Enter Text:  Type: English Speakers = 3,425,304
    TipWith this method, the text box will be exactly wide enough to hold your text.
  4. Format the text:  
      Font Size = 20
      Color = Green

    The text box is probably not centered under the title, depending on exactly where you clicked to create it.
  5. Text in text box formattedAlign Text Box:
    Horizontally: While the new text box is selected, hold the SHIFT key down and click on the Title placeholder, Languages, to add it to the selection. On the Drawing bar, select  Draw  |  Align or Distribute  |  Align Center .
     The placeholder and the text box line up neatly over each other.
    Vertically: Select
    the Title placeholder, the English Speakers text box and the chart. From the Draw menu select  Draw  |  Align or Distribute  |  Distribute Vertically .  The three items are rearranged neatly, even though the text box must overlap the others.
  6. Click onto a blank area of the slide to deselect the objects.
  7. Icon: Class diskSave. [nz-import.ppt]
    Full floppy disk How to handle a full Class disk

    Languages slide - after formatting and text box

  8. Play the Slide Show starting with this slide.
    Hmmm. The title and chart are animated, using the Slide Master settings, but the text box appears when the slide shows up. Perhaps you can fix this unhappy state in the next lesson.


Icon: QuestionIs the chart working well on this slide? What was the purpose for this presentation? Will this slide help accomplish that purpose?

The font size may have changed to 18 for the numbers and languages. (It changes automatically when you resize the chart.) This is OK for viewing on a monitor. It may be too small to do much good on a projection screen in a large room.

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Last updated: 30 Apr 2012