How to Copy a Graph from Excel to PowerPoint

Copying graphs and charts from Excel into PowerPoint is a common task for many professionals. Visualizations allow you to present data and insights effectively to audiences. However, the process of transferring an Excel graph into a PowerPoint slide can be frustrating if you don’t know the proper techniques.

In this article, I will provide a step-by-step guide on how to seamlessly copy any chart or graph from Excel into PowerPoint. Whether you want to copy and paste or link the graph to update automatically, this guide has you covered.


Before we get into the step-by-step instructions, ensure you have the following:

  • Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint installed on your computer (any recent version will work)
  • The Excel workbook containing the chart/graph you want to copy already created
  • The PowerPoint presentation open to the slide you want to paste the graph into

If you meet these prerequisites, you are ready to copy the Excel chart over into PowerPoint.

Copy and Paste Method

The easiest way to bring an Excel chart into PowerPoint is through copy-pasting. Here are the key steps:

  1. Open the Excel workbook and select the chart you want to copy by clicking on it once
  2. Copy the chart by pressing Ctrl+C on your keyboard or right-click Copy
  3. Switch over to PowerPoint, navigate to the slide you want to paste the chart into
  4. Click on the slide once and press Ctrl+V keys to paste
  5. The chart will now be pasted into the center of the slide as an embedded object

The benefit of this method is it’s fast and straightforward. However, the chart is not linked back to the Excel data source. Any updates to the Excel worksheet will not automatically flow through.

If you want the chart to update when you change the source data, use the linking method covered next.

Link Method for Updates

To link an Excel chart to PowerPoint, follow these steps:

  1. Create the chart in Excel first and ensure it looks how you want
  2. Copy the chart to your clipboard using Ctrl+C
  3. In PowerPoint, navigate to the slide you want to paste the linked chart into
  4. Click the Paste dropdown arrow and select Paste Special
  5. In the dialog box, select Paste link and Microsoft Excel Chart Object
  6. The chart will now paste as a linked object, updating automatically when the Excel data changes

The benefit of this method is it creates a dynamic link between the Excel and PowerPoint files. It does come with the downside of needing access to the Excel workbook for the link to keep working.

But for dashboards and frequently updated data sets, linking charts in this way is the better approach over copy-pasting.

Tips and Tricks

Here are some additional pointers when copying Excel charts into PowerPoint:

  • Format and finalize the look of your chart in Excel before bringing it into PowerPoint
  • Use chart styles to quickly apply color formatting to match your presentation theme
  • Resize and position your chart on the PowerPoint slide appropriately after pasting
  • If linking charts, ensure the Excel file location does not change or the links will break

Recap and Conclusion

Copying charts from Excel into your PowerPoint presentations is straightforward once you know the techniques. The copy-paste method provides a quick way to embed a chart while linking allows for dynamic updates.

Use the step-by-step guidance provided in this article to seamlessly transfer Excel graphs into PowerPoint slides. Proper visualization can take your presentations to the next level while saving time and effort.