No program is an island. Sooner or later, you’re probably going to want to take your carefully crafted Excel data and insert it into a completely different program. Maybe you want to bolster a presentation slideshow with some real data or give some heft to a report. No matter what the reason, you need a flexible way to share Excel tables and charts with other software programs.
Fortunately, Microsoft designed the modern Windows operating system with exactly that idea in mind. Windows lets you integrate different types of data through a pair of features called linking and embedding. Using linking and embedding, you can plant Excel data in other programs. You can also do the same thing in reverse, incorporating objects from other programs into your worksheets.
In this chapter, you’ll learn how to use linking and embedding to integrate different types of content into one document. Once you’ve mastered these techniques, you’ll learn how to export and import raw worksheet data.
Every program has its own strengths and weaknesses. For example, Word provides the best tools for formatting long reports, while Excel shines when crunching numbers and charting trends. PowerPoint creates slick slideshows, while Access lets you store and search vast interrelated tables of information. Software developers realized long ago that no one could create a single program that was perfectly suited for every type of document.