Drag and drop data between applications

You can usually copy data in one application and paste it into another. But you can also drag and drop data, which could be a timesaver. Here are a few examples.

Sharing data between applications is one of the Office suite's strongest attributes. Importing and exporting is one way. Sometimes you might want to use code. If it's a quick one-time task, try the Cut and Paste options. If those aren't available, or if you prefer mousing to keystrokes, drag the data from one application to another.

From Access to Word

Access stores data in tables, and that structure is easy to drag into a Word document. Access and your target Word document should both be open and visible on the Taskbar. In Access, select the table you want to copy in the Navigation pane. (The table can be open or closed.) From the Navigation pane, drag the table to the Taskbar and hover over the Word button until Windows displays your open documents (Figure A). Don't release the mouse button yet!

Figure A

If there's only one Word document open, Windows will maximize that document. If multiple Word documents are open, Windows will display those documents on the Taskbar. Drag the mouse to the appropriate document and Windows will maximize it. At this point, drag the mouse into the document and release the mouse button. Windows will copy the entire Access table into the Word document.

From Word to Excel

To copy a Word table to Excel, open an Excel workbook, giving focus to the target sheet. In Word, select the entire table by clicking the table selector (the small square at the table's top-left corner. Then, click inside the table's title bar (don't drag the table selector) and drag the table to the Taskbar, hovering over the Excel button — but don't release the mouse button. When Windows maximizes the target sheet, drag the mouse to the top-left cell in the target range (for example, cell A1 in a blank sheet) and release the mouse button.

From Excel to Access

Dragging data from Excel is a bit more flexible because you can select a range of cells rather than an entire sheet. Before starting, open the target Access database. Select the data in Excel and then point to any border and drag that range to the Access button on the Taskbar. Don't release the mouse button yet. When Windows maximizes Access, drag the mouse to the Navigation pane and release the mouse button. Access will automatically import the data into a new table and apply the sheet's name to the new table.

You might consider the cut-and-paste method easier, but knowing you can drag and drop gives you an alternative and in some cases, more flexibility.

About Susan Harkins

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

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