How To Use Excel-Style Spreadsheets in Microsoft Word

999221 How To Use Excel-Style Spreadsheets in Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word offers powerful tools for creating documents that integrate text with tables, images, and other visual elements. One useful feature is the ability to insert Excel-style spreadsheets directly into Word documents. This allows you to perform calculations, use Excel formulas, and leverage other spreadsheet functionality without leaving Word.

Creating a Blank Spreadsheet

To create a blank spreadsheet in Word:

  1. Place your cursor where you want the spreadsheet to be inserted
  2. On the Insert tab, click the Table dropdown and select Excel Spreadsheet
    • A grid will appear with cell borders indicating an embedded Excel spreadsheet
  3. Enter data, formulas, and other content just as you would in Excel
  4. When finished, click outside the spreadsheet to exit edit mode

Formatting the Spreadsheet

While editing the embedded spreadsheet:

  • The Excel ribbon appears, allowing full access to Excel’s formatting options
  • Features like cell borders, text formatting, conditional formatting, charts, and formulas can be utilized
  • Rows and columns can be inserted, deleted, hidden, resized, and customized as needed

Linking Existing Excel Data

To embed an existing Excel spreadsheet:

  1. On the Insert tab, click the Object button
  2. Select Create from File > Browse to choose the Excel file
  3. Select the sheet to insert and click OK
  4. The selected sheet will be embedded and can be edited directly in Word


  • Links to the original Excel file are maintained
  • Data and formatting transfer seamlessly into Word
  • Excel updates can refresh the linked data

Converting the Spreadsheet to a Table

When finished working with the embedded spreadsheet:

  • Double click inside to enter edit mode
  • Make final tweaks to the data and formatting
  • Click outside the spreadsheet to exit edit mode
  • The spreadsheet will convert to a standard Word table

As a Word table, features like repeating header rows can be enabled. The static data will remain, but no longer linked or editable like a spreadsheet.

Use Cases for Embedded Spreadsheets

Word’s spreadsheet integration helps streamline documents that contain both long-form writing and data analysis. Some examples include:

  • Reports – Embed tables and charts alongside explanatory text and images
  • Proposals – Add interactive calculators to illustrate financial projections
  • Manuals – Include tables that can be sorted and filtered by readers

Best Practices

When working with embedded Excel spreadsheets:

  • Simplify formatting – Avoid dense Excel formatting that doesn’t render well in print
  • Check print preview – Ensure embedded tables fit reasonably within page margins
  • Consider page orientation – Landscape may better fit wider spreadsheets
  • Link important data – Embed source spreadsheets rather than copying static data


With the ability to leverage Excel functionality directly inside documents, Word provides a versatile canvas for creating data-driven content. Embedded spreadsheets complement and enhance surrounding text, seamlessly integrating quantitative analysis into publications and professional communications.