Advanced PowerPoint:
Tables & Charts

Title: Jan's Illustrated Computer Literacy 101

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

Many reports and discussions need to refer to tables of information or charts. You will need to think carefully about how or whether to include these in your presentation.

Problems with Tables & Charts

Layout-Table - default dataProblem: Tables of data do not show up very well on slides. You cannot get very many cells on the slide without making them too small to read easily.

Problem: Too much information all at once means none of it is absorbed by the audience.

Chart - Default dataProblem: Complex charts are hard to read on the screen. Text and bars or lines get small.

Possible Solutions:

  • Simplify: Show only the most important data.
  • Divide data: Use several simple tables or charts on separate slides instead putting all in one table or chart.
  • Reveal in parts - Table: Create a separate table for each row or column and arrange them on the slide to look like one table.  Use custom animation to reveal them one at a time.
  • Reveal in parts - Chart: Reveal each series or each category in turn instead of all at once, using Effects Options for a custom animation. 
  • Notes: Put the complete table or chart in a Notes handout and just a summary or highlights on the slide.

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


Import Data

Problem: Lots of data means lots of typing to create a table or chart!

Solutions (when data is already in a document):

  • Copy and Paste:
    Data must already be in a table or chart in another program, like Word or Excel.
    • Can be edited only in PowerPoint, with PowerPoint's tools
    • Will not show any changes made to the original after you pasted.
  • Import a file as an object (Insert menu):
    • Can edit with original program.
    • If linked, the  slide can be updated to show recent changes.
    • Spreadsheet: If the original has several sheets, you can pick which one shows on the slide. The rest is still there if you change your mind!


    • Broken links: PowerPoint must be able to find the original file when you update . If you moved the presentation to a different computer or moved the data file to a new location, the update will fail.
    • Presentation size gets larger when inserting whole files instead of just a data table or chart.

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Last updated: 30 Apr 2012