Revising Charts Automatically

Earlier, you learned that charts created from Word tables are no longer connected to those tables, so changes you make in the datasheet aren't reflected in the source data. Of course, this may not be ideal. You may well want to maintain one consistent set of data that appears in both your data source and your charts. Moreover, you don't want to keep rebuilding and reformatting the same chart as you update it; you simply want the data to change?automatically.

The next two sections show you how to build enduring links between your charts and your data source?first using Word data and then using data from an Excel worksheet.

Establishing an OLE Link Between Word and Graph

If you want tight and permanent links between your chart and your Word document, so that the chart changes whenever data changes in your document, you can establish an OLE (object linking and embedding) link between the Word document's original chart data and the contents of the chart itself. Here's how to create an OLE link:

  1. Select and copy the Word data you want to graph. (You could also copy data from another document, an Excel worksheet, or another OLE-compliant source.)

  2. Choose Insert, Picture, Chart to open Microsoft Graph. Graph opens with dummy (fake) data in its datasheet.

  3. If the datasheet does not appear, click the Datasheet button on Microsoft Graph's Standard toolbar to display it.

  4. Click your insertion point in the upper-left cell of the datasheet.

  5. Choose Edit, Paste Link.

  6. Word asks you to confirm that you want to replace the dummy data currently in your datasheet. Click OK.

  7. Graph displays the chart, as well as the datasheet window containing the data you pasted.

When you establish the link in this way, the accompanying graph and datasheet are automatically updated whenever you make changes to the Word table.

Not only can you change the data figures of your chart, but you can also change the column or row headings. The chart is updated as soon as you confirm your entry by pressing Tab or otherwise moving from the cell.

You can even add a data series through a linked table, by adding another row or column in the table. Graph creates a new entry in the chart's legend and fills in the information as it is entered.


If you no longer want the link, you can break it. Double-click on your chart to open Microsoft Graph and choose Edit, Links. In the Links dialog box, click the Break Link button and click OK.

Establishing a Link with Microsoft Excel

The process for linking a chart with Excel (or any other OLE-compatible program) is basically the same as the one described previously for linking a table and chart in the same document. You select and copy the information in Excel, switch to Word, and insert a chart, if one is not already in the document. After selecting the datasheet in Graph, you choose Edit, Paste Link.

However, because you are working with two separate files now, the updating is not instantaneous unless Excel is open, Word is open, and you've double-clicked on your chart to open Microsoft Graph.

After you have changed, saved, and closed your Excel file, you can update your chart by opening your Word document and double-clicking the chart to invoke Graph. The same holds true if your source data is in another Word document or a file created by another program.


If you use Paste Link, and then make manual changes in the datasheet, your changes disappear the next time you open the file, because Word automatically updates the chart based on the data stored in the source spreadsheet.


If you don't want to link your data to an external file, you have another option: Simply import it. Open Graph by double-clicking your chart. Choose Edit, Import File and select the file from the dialog box. You can then choose to import either the entire sheet or a selected data range.


If you create a live link to an Excel worksheet (or another data source), be careful not to move the source file, or Graph may not be able to update it properly.

    Part I: Word Basics: Get Productive Fast
    Part II: Building Slicker Documents Faster
    Part III: The Visual Word: Making Documents Look Great
    Part IV: Industrial-Strength Document Production Techniques
    Part VI: The Corporate Word