How to Convert Excel Spreadsheets to Word

By Nick Peers

Discover how you can copy data and charts from Excel spreadsheets to Word documents by using the options provided by the Paste Options feature.

Although you can't export data from Microsoft Excel -- or save the Excel spreadsheet -- as a Word document, you can copy the data to Word using the Paste Options button. To actually convert Excel files -- XLS or XLSX -- to Word documents is not possible without the use of other software.

Tip

You can embed Excel files into Word documents as objects and open them at a later time by double-clicking the objects.

Display the Paste Options Button in Word

In some cases, you may need to configure Microsoft Word to display the Paste Options button. Without the button, you may not be able to change the format of the pasted data.

Step 1

Click the File button in Microsoft Word and select Options from the menu to display the Word Options window.

Step 2

Checking the Show Paste Options Button When Content Is Pasted box in Word.

Select the Advanced tab, scroll down to the Cut, Copy And Paste section and check the Show Paste Options Button When Content Is Pasted box to display the button. Click OK to apply the changes.

Tip

You don't need to restart Microsoft Word for the changes to take effect.

Copy the Data from Excel

Step 1

Selecting the data in an Excel spreadsheet.

Open the spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel and then select the data you wish to copy.

  • To select a portion of the spreadsheet, click the first cell and drag with the mouse until you reach the last cell.
  • To select an entire row or column, click the row or column header.
  • To select specific cells that are not adjacent, hold Ctrl and click each cell. You can also select several rows and columns by holding Ctrl and clicking the column or row headers.
  • To select the entire spreadsheet, press Ctrl-A.

Step 2

Copying data from Excel to the clipboard.

Click the Copy button in the Clipboard group on the Home tab to copy the selected data to the clipboard. Alternatively, use the Ctrl-C keyboard shortcut.

Tip

The selection box contains a dotted white line when the data is copied to the clipboard.

Paste the Data in the Word Document

Step 1

Pasting data from the clipboard into the Word document.

Click anywhere in the Word document and press Ctrl-V to paste the data from the clipboard into the document. Click the Paste Options button that displays in the lower right corner of the data to change the paste options.

Step 2

Selecting a different paste option.

Select a different paste option from the menu that displays when you click the Paste Options button. Mouse over the icons to preview the changes and also view the names of the paste options.

  • Use the Keep Source Formatting option to use the format from Excel -- the data is not placed in a table in Word.
  • Use the Use Destination Styles option to use the format from the Word document -- the data is placed inside a table.
  • Use the Link And Keep Source Formatting or Link And Use Destination Styles option to create a link to the Excel spreadsheet. When you edit the data in the linked spreadsheet, the changes are reflected in the Word document.
  • Use the Picture option to paste the data from Excel as a picture. Note that you can't edit the data in the picture.
  • Use the Keep Text Only option to keep only the text. Each row is pasted in a separate paragraph and cells are separated by tab spaces.

Tip

  • To paste the Excel data as a worksheet object or bitmap -- or in HTML or RTF format -- click the arrow next to Paste in the Clipboard group on the Home tab and select Paste Special. Select the format from the As list and click OK.
  • Copy charts from Excel to Word using the same procedures. To automatically update the chart in Word when you edit the data in Excel, click the Paste Options button and select the Chart (Linked To Excel Data) option. Paste the chart as a picture by selecting the Paste As Picture option.
  • Don't forget to save the changes to the Word document periodically -- and avoid losing your work in case of a software or hardware crash -- by pressing Ctrl-S. By default, Word automatically saves the document every 10 minutes -- you can change this value.