Most of us are always looking for new ways to improve our ordinary Word documents. One of the easiest ways to do this is by using Microsoft Excel. While Word has a simple table function built in, it cannot match Excel’s power and versatility for creating tables and graphs. Teaching your end users to add Excel elements to their Word files will not only liven up their documents, but it will also expand their desktop publishing skills.

Adding Excel tables and workbooks
Rather than spend a lot of time re-creating data stored in an Excel file in Word, insert an Excel table right into your document or open an entire Excel workbook in Word. Here’s how.

Inserting an Excel table into Word

  1. Open the table in Excel.
  2. Highlight the area of the table that you want to copy to Word.
  3. Right-click on the highlighted area and select Copy, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A
You can copy as few or as many cells as you like.

  1. Open Word and the document where you want to place the table.
  2. Right-click in the document where you want the table to appear and click Paste or Paste Cells (see Figure B).

Figure B
You can place the Excel table anywhere on the page.

Pulling an entire workbook or table up in Word

  1. Open Word and select File | Open.
  2. Locate the file you wish to open in Word and click Open (see Figure C).

Figure C
Changing the file type to All Files (*.*) will display Excel files.

  1. You will be asked if you wish to convert the file (see Figure D). Click OK when you are ready to go.

Figure D
You can choose to open the entire Workbook or just select worksheets.

Adding Excel graphs
Using Excel graphs and charts is a great way to jazz up boring Word documents. You can build graphs and charts in Word, but they are a lot easier to work with in Excel. Figure E shows an example of an Excel graph.

Figure E
This simple bar chart can easily brighten up a Word document.

Adding an Excel graph/chart to Word

  1. Open the graph or chart in Excel.
  2. Right-click on the desired graph or chart and select Copy, as shown in Figure F.

Figure F
Click here to copy the bar chart.

  1. Open Word and the document where you want to place the graph or chart.
  2. Right-click in the document where you want the graph or chart to appear and click Paste (see Figure G).

Figure G
The graph or chart can go anywhere on the page.

Wrapping up
Word is a great program, but it does have limitations. Make sure your users don’t feel locked into Word simply because they are more familiar with it than other programs. Teach your users to make both Word and Excel work for them.
Do you have a great Word tip you’d like to share with fellow TechRepublic members? We want to hear about it. What did you think of Brenda’s latest Word tip? Let us know. Post a comment below or write to Brenda Dial.