How to Link Cells/Elements from Microsoft Project to PowerPoint?

Linking data between Microsoft Project and PowerPoint allows you to easily update your presentations when changes occur in your project plans. There are a few methods to accomplish this:

Using Office Timeline Plugin

One of the easiest ways to link Project data to PowerPoint is using the Office Timeline plugin. Here are the steps:

  1. Install Office Timeline and enable the add-in in PowerPoint.
  2. In PowerPoint, click the “Import from Project” button on the Office Timeline tab.
  3. Select your Project .MPP file and choose the data you want to import. You can import tasks, resources, progress status and more.
  4. Office Timeline will automatically create a timeline visualization in PowerPoint using your Project data.

The key benefit of this method is that the timeline visual will update dynamically even if you change the data in your Project file. So you don’t need to re-import every time.

Using Copy/Paste Special

You can also copy/paste data from Project as a linked object in PowerPoint:

  1. In Project, select the cells/elements you want to link such as task names, start dates etc.
  2. Copy the data (Ctrl+C).
  3. In PowerPoint, right click and select “Paste Special”.
  4. Choose “Paste Link” and select “Microsoft Project Object” as the type.
  5. The Project data will now be linked in the PowerPoint slide. Updating the original .MPP file will also update the linked data.

The benefit here is you can be highly selective with the data you link. The downside is you won’t get auto-updating timeline visuals.

Exporting Data to Excel

An alternative approach is:

  1. In Project, export your file data to Excel using File > Export.
  2. In Excel, select the data to link and copy it.
  3. In PowerPoint, paste the data as a linked object using Paste Special (see above).

This achieves a similar outcome as directly linking from Project. The advantage is you can manipulate the data in Excel before bringing it into PowerPoint.

Tips for Linking Project Data

Here are some tips when linking Project data:

  • Always paste as a linked object, not embedded object, if you want the data to update
  • You can format linked objects independently without affecting the source data
  • Linking large Project files can cause PowerPoint files to slow down
  • Test updating links before finalizing PowerPoint slides
  • Use Office Timeline if you want auto-updating, professionally styled timeline slides
  • Export to Excel if you want to filter, sort or process Project data before linking

Presenting Linked Project Data

When presenting slides with linked Project data:

  • Ensure audience devices have access to the linked .MPP file on a shared network folder for the links to work
  • Carry the Project file or a copy saved to a portable storage device as a backup
  • Test the linked data updates as expected in presentation mode before the actual presentation
  • Disable any auto-updates to the Project plan during the presentation to prevent unintended changes
  • Paste values of linked data into PowerPoint slides to break links, for presenting offline without source files

Troubleshooting Links

If linked data from Project to PowerPoint is not updating properly:

  • Open the PowerPoint file and check if data links are broken. Re-link if required.
  • Ensure the source Project file path referenced by links is correct
  • Check both Project and PowerPoint files are not set to read-only
  • If linking via Excel, verify if both Excel and Project links are intact
  • Relink the object if the Project file name or location has changed
  • Use Paste Values if the Project file cannot be accessed to embed latest data

By leveraging links between Project and PowerPoint, you can efficiently communicate project plans and ensure your slides contain the latest data. Implementing some best practices around linking, presenting and troubleshooting will help avoid potential pitfalls.