Automatically Updating Excel Spreadsheets in a PowerPoint

For our e-learning modules, we use PowerPoint 2007 with Articulate Studio ’09. I created a 35 minute long web-based training (WBT) that is all about the forecasted energy usage for the upcoming summer.  The numbers are updated several times before the final numbers are available.  The only thing that changes in the presentation is data from one Excel spreadsheet.  The PowerPoint is about 80 slides.  The spreadsheet is included on about 30 of those slides.

Halfway through the review process for this WBT, the numbers were updated.  This means going through and updating 30 slides!  You can imagine this is not my favorite thing ever.  Plus, manually changing the numbers really invites mistakes.

In the past, we recreated the table in PowerPoint.  I’ve been researching ways that we can give the spreadsheet to SMEs to update that would link to the data to our PowerPoint.  When using “Insert Object” in PowerPoint, it would not ask to update the links upon opening the PowerPoint.  Then, I found the article called

Automatic Updating of Excel Tables in PowerPoint Slides
By Dave Paradi, MBA, Co-author of “Guide to PowerPoint”

This provides the steps to copy an excel spreadsheet (from within Excel) and, using the Paste Special function, paste a link to the spreadsheet.  By doing it this way, I can now choose to update the file every time it opens. 

One caution is that if you move the spreadsheet to a new location or if you rename it, it will break the links.  However, if you are careful with file placement, this can help for trainings that use spreadsheets with data that could change quite a bit.

Thanks Mr. Paradi!


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