Fix Cannot Alter Excel Attachment in PowerPoint Presentation

Embedding Excel files into PowerPoint presentations can be very useful for displaying dynamic data and charts. However, sometimes issues arise that prevent you from editing the embedded Excel files. Here are some common problems and solutions for fixing Excel attachments in PowerPoint that cannot be altered.

Common Issues with Embedded Excel Files

There are a few common issues that can occur when embedding Excel files in PowerPoint:

  • Links get broken – After embedding an Excel file and saving the PowerPoint, when you reopen the file later the links to the Excel file are broken. You get an error saying the file cannot be found or updated.
  • Cannot resize – With some Excel files, you are unable to resize the embedded object in PowerPoint to show more rows/columns. It cuts off data arbitrarily.
  • Display issues – Extra columns show up on the sides in PowerPoint that are not in the original Excel file. Or large Excel files get clipped unexpectedly.
  • Cannot edit data – After double clicking the embedded Excel object to edit it, an error occurs or Excel opens without allowing edits.

These issues prevent you from updating the Excel data and charts dynamically in your PowerPoint presentation.

Potential Causes

There are several potential reasons why you may be unable to edit embedded Excel files in PowerPoint:

  • Compatibility problems – Using old Excel file formats like .xls can cause issues. Also having mismatched Office versions between files.
  • Windows display scaling – If using display scaling above 100%, it can cause embedded Excel objects to not resize properly.
  • OneDrive sync conflicts – Having the files synced with OneDrive can lead to sync errors that break links.
  • Simultaneous editing – If the Excel file is open and edited in another program, PowerPoint may not allow resizing or editing.
  • Corrupted presentations – Damaged PowerPoint files themselves can prevent proper Excel embedding.

Solutions and Fixes

Here are some things you can try to resolve issues with embedded Excel files in PowerPoint presentations:

Use Modern File Formats

  • Save your Excel files in the latest .xlsx or .xlsm formats rather than old .xls files.
  • Ensure your PowerPoint version matches the Excel version used.

Check Display Scaling

  • If over 100% scaling, try setting to 100% to see if it fixes object resizing issues.

Review Sync Settings

  • Disable OneDrive sync temporarily to see if it allows editing when files are local-only.
  • Check the file location links to ensure they reference local files rather than web-based links.

Close Other Programs with File Open

  • If Excel or PowerPoint is open in another program with the file, close it then retry editing the embedded object.

Repair PowerPoint File

  • Try repairing the PowerPoint file from within PowerPoint to fix corrupt presentations preventing Excel editing.
  • Make a new presentation and re-embed the Excel object to test if it’s the file itself.

Update Office

  • Ensure both PowerPoint and Excel are fully updated to the latest versions.
  • Check for Office updates manually if issues persist even with latest versions.

Best Practices for Excel in PowerPoint

To avoid issues when embedding Excel in PowerPoint, keep these best practices in mind:

  • Use paste link – When copying Excel data to PowerPoint, paste as a link instead of embedded object. Links break less often.
  • Format numbers – Manually format the Excel numbers to maintain formatting when linking.
  • Simplify data – Only display essential data in PowerPoint charts and tables, keep the full data set in Excel.
  • Organize coherently – Structure folders so linked files don’t get relocated and break links.
  • Test extensively – Validate that dynamic updates are working before finalizing presentation.

Following these tips will help reduce frustration when linking Excel files in PowerPoint presentations!

When All Else Fails…

If you continue having issues getting embedded Excel data to display properly or allow editing despite the fixes outlined here, a last resort is to scrap the linked objects.

Instead, manually update PowerPoint by copying and pasting data and charts freshly from Excel each time it changes. It takes more effort but prevents tricky linking errors.

Or explore Excel linking alternatives like using web-based Excel tables in PowerPoint with Microsoft Graph data connectors. This can pull Excel cloud data dynamically without complex file linking.

Don’t spend hours struggling – sometimes it’s best to simplify things even if it means sacrificing dynamic updates. Get your presentation functioning then revisit automation later!