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Excel 2010: The Missing Manual by Matthew MacDonald

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Embedding and Linking Objects

Embedding and linking are two tools that let you build compound documents, which contain content from two or more programs. Maybe you have a Word file that contains an Excel worksheet. You can save this document as one file and print it as one document, but you need to use both programs to edit its content. Figure 27-1 shows an example.

If you place an Excel chart inside a Word document (as shown here), Word stores the chart in a floating box, and the document's text flows around it. The document looks just as it would if you had used Word's Insert→Illustrations→Picture command to place a picture of the chart in your document.

Figure 27-1. If you place an Excel chart inside a Word document (as shown here), Word stores the chart in a floating box, and the document's text flows around it. The document looks just as it would if you had used Word's Insert→Illustrations→Picture command to place a picture of the chart in your document.

Embedding and linking are really two different, but related, concepts:

  • Embedding means that a copy of one document is physically stored inside the other. If you embed an Excel chart in a Word document, the Word (.docx) file contains all the Word document content and all the Excel worksheet data.

  • Linking means that one document contains a reference to another document. If you put an Excel chart inside a Word document using linking, the Word file stores the Excel workbook file's name and file location information. A linked document still stores some of the information from the original source, so that you have something to show even if the link gets disrupted (if you delete the source file, for instance). However, a linked ...

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