Include the latest data in your documents

Show your students how to harness the power of Office interoperability.

Students typically receive Office training one application at a time—or they focus exclusively on a single application, such as Word. However, one of the most powerful and beneficial aspects of Office is its interoperability, so it’s important for users to learn how to bring information from one program into another. A good starting point is teaching your students to paste link Excel data in a Word document. The process is fairly simple, and your class will be amazed to see how Word automatically updates data that’s linked to a workbook. Here’s a sample scenario you can use to demonstrate this technique.

Copy the data
Let’s suppose you’re working on a report in Word and you want to include regional sales totals for the first two quarters of 1999—information that appears in an Excel workbook. Here’s what you do:
  • Open the workbook containing the data.
  • Select the appropriate cells—in this case, the ones with sales figures for the first two quarters.
  • Click Copy.

The first step is to select and copy the desired workbook data.

Paste link
Now you can paste a dynamic copy of the data in the report in Word.
  • Open your report, and position the insertion point where you want the data to appear.
  • Choose Paste Special from the Edit menu, and select the Paste Link option in the Paste Special dialog box.
  • Word lets you choose a format for the pasted data from the As: list box. (For instance, you could insert the data as a picture, which would allow you to drag it to a particular spot on the page.) By default, Word selects the Formatted Text (RTF) option, which is what we’ll use here. Just click OK, and Word will insert the copied data as a table.

Word will offer these options when you select Paste Link.

Check the link
After you paste link the data, you can verify that it works:
  • Switch back to the Excel workbook and make some changes to the data—maybe modify some numbers or apply bold formatting.
  • Return to your document and show the class how Word has updated the copied data in your report to match the changes you made in the Excel workbook.
Is interoperability part of your Office curriculum? Is so, what are some of the key tasks you teach your students? Drop us an e-mail message and let us know.

About Jody Gilbert

Jody Gilbert has been writing and editing technical articles for the past 25 years. She was part of the team that launched TechRepublic and is now senior features editor for Tech Pro Research.

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