How to embed Word objects into an Excel 2016 / 365 / 2019 workbook?

Applies to: Windows 11, 10, 8 and 7 and macOS operating systems.

Dorothy wanted to learn how to insert objects into her Excel spreadsheets:

I believe i have seen a Microsoft Excel worksheet that had a Word document embedded in it. Can you explain how can i insert Word files into Excel and in general how to embed file objects in Office? Just so you are aware, I am using Excel 365.

Thanks for the question. One of the key benefits of an integrated productivity suite, such as Office, is the ability to insert files of specific type into other files. For example – you can add Word document files into other Microsoft Office applications, namely Excel worksheets, Outlook emails and PowerPoint presentations.

This quick tutorial is aimed at explaining how you can embed Word objects (being a document, presentation, diagram, notebook)  into Excel. You can use a similar process when adding docx files to PowerPoint or to other Word files.

Inserting Word docs into Microsoft Excel sheets

  1. First off, go ahead and open Microsoft Excel.
  2. Then hit File, and navigate to the Open tab.
  3. Now search and open for your Excel workbook. (Tip – consider pinning files for easier access in the future).
  4. In your Excel file, navigate to your the tab in Excel into which you would like to add the attachment/embed.
  5. From the Ribbon, hit Insert.
  6. In the right hand side of the Ribbon, hit Object (located in the Text group of the Insert tab).
  7. At this point, you can either add a new Word file to your worksheet or an existing one. Select Create a new file and pick Microsoft Word as the object type from the drop down list to add a brand new document or select Create from file to add an existing file  to the spreadsheet.
  8. Now, go ahead and adjust the look and feel of your embedded object so it will fit your spreadsheet layout.
  9. Next, hit OK.
  10. And obviously, don’t forget to save your Excel spreadsheet on your computer, network drive or OneDrive.

Adding Word as attachments into Excel files

In a similar fashion you are able to insert your Word doc as an attachment to the worksheet.

Follow steps 1-6 above, but be sure of highlighting the Display as Icon and Link to File check-boxes before moving to step 8. Your document will displayed as an icon on your spreadsheet, which you can double click to open it.

Linking to a file from Word and Excel

As shown above, by using the Link to File feature, you can easily link to any embedded file or icon in your spreadsheet or document.

Notes:

  1. As shown above, embedded files can also be displayed as links or icons in your spreadsheet.
  2. The process we just outlined applies for adding any type of files (including if needed, image, graphs, equation objects and so forth) into an Excel spreadsheet.

Embedding Word documents into Excel on macOS

  1. Open Excel for macOS.
  2. Navigate and open your spreadsheet.
  3. Go to the Insert tab.
  4. Now, go ahead and hit Select Object.
  5. The Insert Object form will appear:
Embed_Word_Excel_MAC
  1. Select Microsoft Word document to insert a brand new file, or hit the From file button to add an existing doc to your worksheet.
  2. Last hit OK, and don’t forget to save your file.

Finally, now that you know everything about embedding Word documents into spreadsheets, you might want to learn how to insert Excel sheets into Word docs.

Note:

  1. If you are using Microsoft Office on MAC, you’ll be able to embed Word documents into Excel for MAC, but not into PowerPoint presentations nor Visio diagrams.

Copying Word content into an Excel spreadsheet

A reader asked whether he is able to copy and paste between Word an Excel. A very prevalent use case for that is when you have content in a Word table and you would like to paste it into your spreadsheet. This is possible, but with a couple caveats / tricks mostly related to the pasted content formatting:

  • Assuming that you have a table in your Word document, highlight it, then hit the right mouse click and hit Copy.
  • Open your Excel spreadsheet and navigate to the place you would like to paste your table.
  • Right click and use the Paste Options menu to set the formatting of your pasted data.
  • Alternatively, use Paste Special (also available in your right mouse button) to paste as text, HTML or embed the content as a “live” Word object.

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