Copying and pasting Excel graphs

When you copy a graph from Excel, don’t just paste it into the slide using Control-V. This will paste it as a graph still linked to the original data. If you change or delete the original data, even accidentally, the graph will also change. And if you email the PowerPoint to someone else you’ll also need to email them the Excel file with the data.

The best way to paste it is as a Windows Enhanced Metafile. This preserves the sharp edges of the image and it looks very professional. To paste, press Control-Alt-V and a window will open. Scroll through to find Windows Enhanced Metafile. This will save it with a border around the graph. I actually don’t like the border and use the cropping tool to remove it, but that’s more a personal taste.

The only problem with Windows Enhanced Metafile is you can’t change the colors of the bars, the text, or anything else. It’s just a picture. 

If you want to be able to manipulate the chart after you paste it, then paste it in a “vector” format (basically means in an editable format). Press Control-V and then select the little drop-down menu that appears in the lower right corner and select “Excel chart (entire workbook)”. In addition to being editable, the image also has no border around it and the background is transparent. Perfect for placing on top of slides with colored backgrounds.


About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the new language of business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations. Subscribe to this blog or join my LinkedIn group to get new posts sent to your inbox.

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2 Responses to Copying and pasting Excel graphs

  1. Craig Hadden, Sydney says:

    Hi Bruce. Metafiles are actually in a vector format, so you CAN change their colours etc. To do that, select the graph on your slide and ungroup it (Shift+Ctrl+G), choose Yes at the resulting prompt and then press Shift+Ctrl+G again. Now you can select and delte the border, make the background transparent, change the colours, etc etc.

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