Using Excel graphs in Word


Hi everyone,

I am writing my 1st year report and need some help with my graphs! In the past what I have done is made a graph in Excel and pasted it into Word. Job done. However, this report is so big that Word is complaining as my graphs are too huge! So I have started copying the Excel graphs into Paint, saving them as jpegs, and then putting the jpeg into Word instead.

So I was just wondering, is this the most efficient way of doing things? Or is there a much cleverer/faster way of doing it?


Smoobles :-)


Apart from not using Excel for figures, what you can do to shrink your file size is this:
when pasting into Word, use Paste Special and choose "Picture" (or similar) and in that way it should be a smaller. But then your method is actually better because you will also have the figures as separate files... (I always find that useful).


Using office 2007, to me, is a serious waste of time - although it is the standard program in most institutes. Importing a graph from excel into word will convert it into a JPEG Picture. It loses the quality of the fonts & the graphs. If you resize them, you'll find big pixels in your report - not cool at all.

I finally found a solution. iWork 09 (Apple's MS WORD) works hand in hand with Numbers (Apple's Excel) and anything you import remains its quality. What I do is I export my entire report as a .pdf so no quality is loss. As a result, you get a "High Definition" report with crystal clear & sharp graphs. Beautiful.


For your 1st year report, going from excel->paint->word (you can even copy and paste from paint to word instead of saving) will work fine. Don't ever paste directly from excel into an office file: not only will it embed the whole excel file and make your file huge (as you noticed), it will also mean people can go snooping around your data. I once gave a powerpoint poster to a postdoc to check before a conference, then later walked into her office and found her looking at all kinds of other data that were inside the graph's associated excel file on different sheets.

Later on (i.e. for your thesis and for publications), it will really be worth investing time into learning some proper scientific graphing software like Graphpad Prism (my preference) or SigmaPlot. I tend to export graphs from these programs into Adobe Illustrator or Adobe InDesign to label the axes, align everything and generally make it look professional. Then I save it as a high quality .PNG and import into Word or LaTeX.


thanks everyone for your replies!

supergenius - i hadn't even considered the fact that people could view the rest of the excel file, so thanks for the tip! i would hate for my supervisor to see my raw data files as they're such a mess! and you're right, i need to get on and learn how to use something a little more advanced, excel is definitely limiting me!


i recommend LaTeX and Matlab (or Octave, the open source version) for writing and creating graphs. Writing huge reports in Word is a huge waste of time (try reformating just a tiny bit, the whole file changes; or changing references .... a nightmare). It is worth starting NOW with something more sophisticated, in your third year you will hardly have the time to get yourself acquainted with LaTeX and some more advanced graphing software ... first year is still the year where you have the most time!


I'd second the advice on learning LaTeX. I never heard of it until I was midway through writing my thesis--frustrated at Word's inability to float figures. LyX combined with JabRef is very powerful, yet easy to learn, and the typesetting, figure handling, and math is MUCH better than Word.

For my field, there's built-for-purpose graphing software like Prism, so I wouldn't use Matlab/Octave/R for graphs personally. For most, they're too technical anyway.