Insert an object in your Excel spreadsheet (2023)

You can use Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) to include content from other programs, such as Word or Excel.

OLE is supported by many different programs, and OLE is used to make content that is created in one program available in another program. For example, you can insert an Office Word document in an Office Excel workbook. To see what types of content that you can insert, click Object in the Text group on the Insert tab. Only programs that are installed on your computer and that support OLE objects appear in the Object type box.

If you copy information between Excel or any program that supports OLE, such as Word, you can copy the information as either a linked object or an embedded object. The main differences between linked objects and embedded objects are where the data is stored and how the object is updated after you place it in the destination file. Embedded objects are stored in the workbook that they are inserted in, and they are not updated. Linked objects remain as separate files, and they can be updated.

Linked and embedded objects in a document

Insert an object in your Excel spreadsheet (1)

1. An embedded object has no connection to the source file.

2. A linked object is linked to the source file.

3. The source file updates the linked object.

When to use linked objects

If you want the information in your destination file to be updated when the data in the source file changes, use linked objects.

With a linked object, the original information remains stored in the source file. The destination file displays a representation of the linked information but stores only the location of the original data (and the size if the object is an Excel chart object). The source file must remain available on your computer or network to maintain the link to the original data.

The linked information can be updated automatically if you change the original data in the source file. For example, if you select a paragraph in a Word document and then paste the paragraph as a linked object in an Excel workbook, the information can be updated in Excel if you change the information in your Word document.

When to use embedded objects

If you don't want to update the copied data when it changes in the source file, use an embedded object. The version of the source is embedded entirely in the workbook. If you copy information as an embedded object, the destination file requires more disk space than if you link the information.

When a user opens the file on another computer, he can view the embedded object without having access to the original data. Because an embedded object has no links to the source file, the object is not updated if you change the original data. To change an embedded object, double-click the object to open and edit it in the source program. The source program (or another program capable of editing the object) must be installed on your computer.

Changing the way that an OLE object is displayed

You can display a linked object or embedded object in a workbook exactly as it appears in the source program or as an icon. If the workbook will be viewed online, and you don't intend to print the workbook, you can display the object as an icon. This minimizes the amount of display space that the object occupies. Viewers who want to display the information can double-click the icon.

Newer versionsOffice 2010 – 2013Office 2007

Embed an object in a worksheet

  1. Click inside the cell of the spreadsheet where you want to insert the object.

  2. On the Insert tab, in the Text group, click Object Insert an object in your Excel spreadsheet (2).
    Insert an object in your Excel spreadsheet (3)

  3. In the Object dialog box, click the Create from File tab.

  4. Click Browse, and select the file you want to insert.

  5. If you want to insert an icon into the spreadsheet instead of show the contents of the file, select the Display as icon check box. If you don’t select any check boxes, Excel shows the first page of the file. In both cases, the complete file opens with a double click. Click OK.

    Note:After you add the icon or file, you can drag and drop it anywhere on the worksheet. You can also resize the icon or file by using the resizing handles. To find the handles, click the file or icon one time.

Insert a link to a file

You might want to just add a link to the object rather than fully embedding it. You can do that if your workbook and the object you want to add are both stored on a SharePoint site, a shared network drive, or a similar location, and if the location of the files will remain the same. This is handy if the linked object undergoes changes because the link always opens the most up-to-date document.

(Video) How to insert an Object file in MS Excel?

Note:If you move the linked file to another location, the link won’t work anymore.

  1. Click inside the cell of the spreadsheet where you want to insert the object.

  2. On the Insert tab, in the Text group, click Object Insert an object in your Excel spreadsheet (4).
    Insert an object in your Excel spreadsheet (5)

  3. Click the Create from File tab.

  4. Click Browse, and then select the file you want to link.

  5. Select the Link to file check box, and click OK.

Create a new object from inside Excel

You can create an entirely new object based on another program without leaving your workbook. For example, if you want to add a more detailed explanation to your chart or table, you can create an embedded document, such as a Word or PowerPoint file, in Excel. You can either set your object to be displayed right in a worksheet or add an icon that opens the file.

Insert an object in your Excel spreadsheet (6)
  1. Click inside the cell of the spreadsheet where you want to insert the object.

  2. On the Insert tab, in the Text group, click Object Insert an object in your Excel spreadsheet (7).
    Insert an object in your Excel spreadsheet (8)

  3. On the Create New tab, select the type of object you want to insert from the list presented. If you want to insert an icon into the spreadsheet instead of the object itself, select the Display as icon check box.

  4. Click OK. Depending on the type of file you are inserting, either a new program window opens or an editing window appears within Excel.

  5. Create the new object you want to insert.

    When you’re done, if Excel opened a new program window in which you created the object, you can work directly within it.

    Insert an object in your Excel spreadsheet (9)

    When you’re done with your work in the window, you can do other tasks without saving the embedded object. When you close the workbook your new objects will be saved automatically.

    Note:After you add the object, you can drag and drop it anywhere on your Excel worksheet. You can also resize the object by using the resizing handles. To find the handles, click the object one time.

Embed an object in a worksheet

  1. Click inside the cell of the spreadsheet where you want to insert the object.

  2. On the Insert tab, in the Text group, click Object.

    Insert an object in your Excel spreadsheet (10)
  3. Click the Create from File tab.

    Insert an object in your Excel spreadsheet (11)
  4. Click Browse, and select the file you want to insert.

  5. If you want to insert an icon into the spreadsheet instead of show the contents of the file, select the Display as icon check box. If you don’t select any check boxes, Excel shows the first page of the file. In both cases, the complete file opens with a double click. Click OK.

    Note:After you add the icon or file, you can drag and drop it anywhere on the worksheet. You can also resize the icon or file by using the resizing handles. To find the handles, click the file or icon one time.

Insert a link to a file

You might want to just add a link to the object rather than fully embedding it. You can do that if your workbook and the object you want to add are both stored on a SharePoint site, a shared network drive, or a similar location, and if the location of the files will remain the same. This is handy if the linked object undergoes changes because the link always opens the most up-to-date document.

Note:If you move the linked file to another location, the link won’t work anymore.

  1. Click inside the cell of the spreadsheet where you want to insert the object.

  2. On the Insert tab, in the Text group, click Object.

    Insert an object in your Excel spreadsheet (12)
  3. Click the Create from File tab.

  4. Click Browse, and then select the file you want to link.

  5. Select the Link to file check box, and click OK.

    Insert an object in your Excel spreadsheet (13)

Create a new object from inside Excel

You can create an entirely new object based on another program without leaving your workbook. For example, if you want to add a more detailed explanation to your chart or table, you can create an embedded document, such as a Word or PowerPoint file, in Excel. You can either set your object to be displayed right in a worksheet or add an icon that opens the file.

Insert an object in your Excel spreadsheet (14)
  1. Click inside the cell of the spreadsheet where you want to insert the object.

  2. On the Insert tab, in the Text group, click Object.

    (Video) Insert object in excel 365 | How to insert an Object file in MS Excel | inserting object in excel |

    Insert an object in your Excel spreadsheet (15)
  3. On the Create New tab, select the type of object you want to insert from the list presented. If you want to insert an icon into the spreadsheet instead of the object itself, select the Display as icon check box.

    Insert an object in your Excel spreadsheet (16)
  4. Click OK. Depending on the type of file you are inserting, either a new program window opens or an editing window appears within Excel.

  5. Create the new object you want to insert.

    When you’re done, if Excel opened a new program window in which you created the object, you can work directly within it.

    Insert an object in your Excel spreadsheet (17)

    When you’re done with your work in the window, you can do other tasks without saving the embedded object. When you close the workbook your new objects will be saved automatically.

    Note:After you add the object, you can drag and drop it anywhere on your Excel worksheet. You can also resize the object by using the resizing handles. To find the handles, click the object one time.

Link or embed content from another program by using OLE

You can link or embed all or part of the content from another program.

Create a link to content from another program

  1. Click in the worksheet where you want to place the linked object.

  2. On the Insert tab, in the Text group, click Object.

    Insert an object in your Excel spreadsheet (18)

  3. Click the Create from File tab.

  4. In the File name box, type the name of the file, or click Browse to select from a list.

  5. Select the Link to file check box.

  6. Do one of the following:

    • To display the content, clear the Display as icon check box.

    • To display an icon, select the Display as icon check box. Optionally, to change the default icon image or label, click Change Icon, and then click the icon that you want from the Icon list, or type a label in the Caption box.

    Note:You cannot use the Object command to insert graphics and certain types of files. To insert a graphic or file, on the Insert tab, in the Illustrations group, click Picture.

Embed content from another program

  1. Click in the worksheet where you want to place the embedded object.

  2. On the Insert tab, in the Text group, click Object.

    Insert an object in your Excel spreadsheet (19)

  3. If the document does not already exist, click the Create New tab. In the Object type box, click the type of object that you want to create.

    If the document already exists, click the Create from File tab. In the File name box, type the name of the file, or click Browse to select from a list.

  4. Clear the Link to file check box.

  5. Do one of the following:

    • To display the content, clear the Display as icon check box.

    • To display an icon, select the Display as icon check box. To change the default icon image or label, click Change Icon, and then click the icon that you want from the Icon list, or type a label in the Caption box.

Link or embed partial content from another program

  1. From a program other than Excel, select the information that you want to copy as a linked or embedded object.

  2. On the Home tab, in the Clipboard group, click Copy.

    (Video) Link or Embed an Excel Object

    Insert an object in your Excel spreadsheet (20)

  3. Switch to the worksheet that you want to place the information in, and then click where you want the information to appear.

  4. On the Home tab, in the Clipboard group, click the arrow below Paste, and then click Paste Special.

  5. Do one of the following:

    • To paste the information as a linked object, click Paste link.

    • To paste the information as an embedded object, click Paste. In the As box, click the entry with the word "object" in its name. For example, if you copied the information from a Word document, click Microsoft Word Document Object.

Change the way that an OLE object is displayed

  1. Right-click the icon or object, point to object typeObject (for example, Document Object), and then click Convert.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To display the content, clear the Display as icon check box.

    • To display an icon, select the Display as icon check box. Optionally, you can change the default icon image or label. To do that, click Change Icon, and then click the icon that you want from the Icon list, or type a label in the Caption box.

Control updates to linked objects

You can set links to other programs to be updated in the following ways: automatically, when you open the destination file; manually, when you want to see the previous data before updating with the new data from the source file; or when you specifically request the update, regardless of whether automatic or manual updating is turned on.

Set a link to another program to be updated manually

  1. On the Data tab, in the Connections group, click Edit Links.

    Insert an object in your Excel spreadsheet (21)

    Note:The Edit Links command is unavailable if your file does not contain links to other files.

  2. In the Source list, click the linked object that you want to update. An A in the Update column means that the link is automatic, and an M in the Update column means that the link is set to Manual update.

    Tip:To select multiple linked objects, hold down CTRL and click each linked object. To select all linked objects, press CTRL+A.

  3. To update a linked object only when you click Update Values, click Manual.

Set a link to another program to be updated automatically

  1. On the Data tab, in the Connections group, click Edit Links.

    Insert an object in your Excel spreadsheet (22)

    Note:The Edit Links command is unavailable if your file does not contain links to other files.

  2. In the Source list, click the linked object that you want to update. An A in the Update column means that the link will update automatically, and an M in the Update column means that the link must be updated manually.

    Tip:To select multiple linked objects, hold down CTRL and click each linked object. To select all linked objects, press CTRL+A.

  3. Click OK.

Issue: I can't update the automatic links on my worksheet

The Automatic option can be overridden by the Update links to other documents Excel option.

To ensure that automatic links to OLE objects can be automatically updated:

  1. Click the Microsoft Office Button Insert an object in your Excel spreadsheet (23), click Excel Options, and then click the Advanced category.

  2. Under When calculating this workbook, make sure that the Update links to other documents check box is selected.

Update a link to another program now

  1. On the Data tab, in the Connections group, click Edit Links.

    Insert an object in your Excel spreadsheet (24)

    Note:The Edit Links command is unavailable if your file does not contain linked information.

  2. In the Source list, click the linked object that you want to update.

    (Video) MS Excel - Insert Objects

    Tip:To select multiple linked objects, hold down CTRL and click each linked object. To select all linked objects, press CTRL+A.

  3. Click Update Values.

Edit content from an OLE program

While you are in Excel, you can change the content linked or embedded from another program.

Edit a linked object in the source program

  1. On the Data tab, in the Connections group, click Edit Links.

    Insert an object in your Excel spreadsheet (25)

    Note:The Edit Links command is unavailable if your file does not contain linked information.

  2. In the Source file list, click the source for the linked object, and then click Open Source.

  3. Make the changes that you want to the linked object.

  4. Exit the source program to return to the destination file.

Edit an embedded object in the source program

  1. Double-click the embedded object to open it.

  2. Make the changes that you want to the object.

  3. If you are editing the object in place within the open program, click anywhere outside of the object to return to the destination file.

    If you edit the embedded object in the source program in a separate window, exit the source program to return to the destination file.

Note:Double-clicking certain embedded objects, such as video and sound clips, plays the object instead of opening a program. To edit one of these embedded objects, right-click the icon or object, point to object typeObject (for example, Media Clip Object), and then click Edit.

Edit an embedded object in a program other than the source program

  1. Select the embedded object that you want to edit.

  2. Right-click the icon or object, point to object typeObject (for example, Document Object), and then click Convert.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To convert the embedded object to the type that you specify in the list, click Convert to.

    • To open the embedded object as the type that you specify in the list without changing the embedded object type, click Activate.

Select an OLE object by using the keyboard

  1. Press CTRL+G to display the Go To dialog box.

  2. Click Special, select Objects, and then click OK.

  3. Press TAB until the object that you want is selected.

  4. Press SHIFT+F10.

  5. Point to Object or Chart Object, and then click Edit.

Issue: When I double-click a linked or embedded object, a "cannot edit" message appears

This message appears when the source file or source program can't be opened.

Make sure that the source program is available If the source program is not installed on your computer, convert the object to the file format of a program that you do have installed.

Ensure that memory is adequate Make sure that you have enough memory to run the source program. Close other programs to free up memory, if necessary.

Close all dialog boxes If the source program is running, make sure that it doesn't have any open dialog boxes. Switch to the source program, and close any open dialog boxes.

Close the source file If the source file is a linked object, make sure that another user doesn't have it open.

(Video) Learn how to Insert different Objects / any type of file in Excel file

Ensure that the source file name has not changed If the source file that you want to edit is a linked object, make sure that it has the same name as it did when you created the link and that it has not been moved. Select the linked object, and then click the Edit Links command in the Connections group on the Data tab to see the name of the source file. If the source file has been renamed or moved, use the Change Source button in the Edit Links dialog box to locate the source file and reconnect the link.

Need more help?

You can always ask an expert in the Excel Tech Communityor get support in the Answers community.

FAQs

What are examples of objects in Excel? ›

An object represents an element of an application, such as a worksheet, a cell, a chart, a form, or a report.

Why won't Excel Let me insert an object? ›

Locked Worksheet or Workbook

Once you apply it, you can't insert a file into your Excel document. You can unlock specific cells before you protect your worksheet, but that may only allow you to enter text or calculations, not to insert a file. To regain file-insertion capabilities, turn off protection.

What is an object example? ›

Look around right now and you'll find many examples of real-world objects: your dog, your desk, your television set, your bicycle. Real-world objects share two characteristics: They all have state and behavior. Dogs have state (name, color, breed, hungry) and behavior (barking, fetching, wagging tail).

What is object and example? ›

An object is a noun (or pronoun) that is acted upon by a verb or a preposition. There are three kinds of object: Direct Object (e.g., I know him.) Indirect Object (e.g., Give her the prize.) Object of a Preposition (e.g., Sit with them.)

What is an object in a spreadsheet? ›

The term Excel Objects (collectively referred to as the Excel Object Model) refers to the entities that make up an Excel workbook, such as Worksheets, Rows, Columns, Cell Ranges, and the Excel Workbook itself. Each object in Excel has a number of Properties, which are stored as a part of that object.

How do you unlock objects in Excel? ›

On the Home tab, click the Format Cell Font popup launcher. You can also press Ctrl+Shift+F or Ctrl+1. In the Format Cells popup, in the Protection tab, uncheck the Locked box and then click OK. This unlocks all the cells on the worksheet when you protect the worksheet.

Where is the insert Object button? ›

To insert an object, click Object on the Insert tab.

What is object shortcut? ›

Shortcut objects are easy pointers for navigation. Creating shortcuts to original objects in different locations facilitates access to these objects without duplicating them. These shortcut objects link to objects and are saved in folders. In contrast, the shortcuts in the Shortcut Bar represent folders only.

What is the shortcut key of object? ›

Press SHIFT+TAB to select the object that you want. Press SHIFT+F10 for the shortcut menu. Press the DOWN ARROW to select <variable> Object, the ENTER or RIGHT ARROW key to show the secondary menu, and then select Edit.

What is Cell object in Excel? ›

Represents a single table cell. The Cell object is a member of the Cells collection. The Cells collection represents all the cells in the specified object.

What is insert object? ›

Insert Object is used to insert any type of content you wish into a document. The type of objects that can be inserted vary according to the programs you have installed on your computer that support embedded objects. Inserted objects can either be new or they can be files already existing on your computer.

What are the 5 examples of object? ›

Objects are identifiable entities that have a set of attributes, behaviour and state. Five examples of objects are car, pen, mobile, email, bank account.

What are objects answer? ›

An object is the part of the sentence that receives an action from the verb. The order of a sentence in standard English is typically subject-verb-object. The subject is what does the action, the verb is the action itself, and the object is what receives the action.

How do you find an object example? ›

Examples of the object of a preposition in English language

Remember, you find a direct object by asking “what?” or “whom?” the verb is doing. Then, to find an indirect object, ask “to whom/what?” or “for whom/what” the direct object is intended.

Which is the main use of object? ›

Which among the following is the main use of object? Explanation: The objects are used to create an instance of a class. Objects can represent a class in an independent form. The basic blueprint, that contains the information of the type of data that can be stored in an object, is given by the class.

Where is the object tool in Excel? ›

You can access this option from the Find & Select menu on the Home tab of the ribbon. Click on the Objects radio button to select all of the objects on the sheet.

Where does Excel come in object? ›

At the top of this hierarchy is the Excel Application. All the objects within Excel are members or sub-members of the Application object. Here is a fully qualified line of code that starts at the application level.

How do you name an object in Excel? ›

Naming Objects

Simply select the object, type a name in the Name Box, and hit Enter.

How do I edit text in an object in Excel? ›

Right-click the selection. Point to the name of the object (for example, CheckBox Object), and then click Edit. Edit the text for the control.

How do you remove lock in Excel? ›

On the Review tab, click Protect Sheet or Protect Workbook. Click Unprotect Sheet or Protect Workbook and enter the password. Clicking Unprotect Sheet automatically removes the password from the sheet. To add a new password, click Protect Sheet or Protect Workbook, type and confirm the new password, and then click OK.

How do I unlock an image in Excel? ›

Hi, Please right-click the image and choose Size and Properties, then make sure that the Locked checkbox is checked.

How do I turn off insert lock? ›

1. Press the "Ins" key to toggle overtype mode off. Depending on your keyboard model, this key may also be labeled "Insert." If you simply want to disable overtype mode but keep the ability to toggle it back on, you are done.

What are the five examples of objects? ›

Objects are identifiable entities that have a set of attributes, behaviour and state. Five examples of objects are car, pen, mobile, email, bank account.

What is object data type in Excel? ›

The Object data type can point to data of any data type, including any object instance your application recognizes. Use Object when you do not know at compile time what data type the variable might point to. The default value of Object is Nothing (a null reference).

What is the main object of Excel? ›

Microsoft Excel enables users to format, organize and calculate data in a spreadsheet. By organizing data using software like Excel, data analysts and other users can make information easier to view as data is added or changed. Excel contains a large number of boxes called cells that are ordered in rows and columns.

What is object identity example? ›

Object identity - Each object is uniquely identifiable. For example, the fridge can not become the T.V.

How do you identify the object? ›

Remember, you find a direct object by asking “what?” or “whom?” the verb is doing. Then, to find an indirect object, ask “to whom/what?” or “for whom/what” the direct object is intended.

What is object very short answer? ›

An object is anything that has a fixed shape or form, that you can touch or see, and that is not alive.

How do you define a data object? ›

A data object is a region of storage that contains a value or group of values. Each value can be accessed using its identifier or a more complex expression that refers to the object. In addition, each object has a unique data type.

What does data type object mean? ›

A data type object (an instance of numpy. dtype class) describes how the bytes in the fixed-size block of memory corresponding to an array item should be interpreted. It describes the following aspects of the data: Type of the data (integer, float, Python object, etc.)

What is object data set? ›

The DataSet object is central to supporting disconnected, distributed data scenarios with ADO.NET. The DataSet is a memory-resident representation of data that provides a consistent relational programming model regardless of the data source.

What are the 3 main types of data in Excel? ›

Excel data types are the four different kinds of values in Microsoft Excel. The four types of data are text, number, logical and error. You may perform different functions with each type, so it's important to know which ones to use and when to use them.

What does edit objects mean in Excel? ›

Make changes to graphic objects including maps, embedded charts, shapes, text boxes, and controls that you did not unlock before you protected the worksheet.

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