Copying a Chart and Related Shapes to a Word Document

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated March 27, 2021)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


1

Leslie prepares charts in Excel, adding shapes from the drawing tools. He would like to copy the charts to a Word document, but only some of the shapes are copied. He wonders why some of the shapes get left uncopied and how he can "flatten" the chart so that everything is copied.

Let's assume for a moment that your chart is inserted in your worksheet, as an object. In this case, the behavior you describe is actually normal. You see, shapes can be associated with either your chart or with your worksheet. If they are associated with the chart, then when you copy the chart to the Word document, the shapes associated with the chart are also copied. If they are associated with the worksheet, then they are not automatically copied with the chart.

Excel associates a shape with either the chart or the worksheet depending on what was selected when you chose to insert the shape. If the chart was selected just prior to inserting the shape, then it will be associated with the chart. If a cell in the worksheet was selected, then the inserted shape is associated with the worksheet—even if you later move the shape to be over the top of the chart.

In order to copy the chart and all the shapes, you have two options. First, you could select a shape that won't copy, press Ctrl+X to cut it to the Clipboard, click once on the chart to select it, and then press Ctrl+V to paste it. The shape is now associated with the chart. You can repeat this for each misbehaving shape, and subsequently copying the chart to the Word document should copy all the desired shapes, as well.

The second option is to leave all your shapes where they are and simply group them together. Click once on one of the shapes to select it, then hold down the Ctrl key as you click on each of the other shapes, in turn. With the Ctrl key still pressed, click on the chart, as well. Now right-click on one of the selected shapes and, from the resulting Context menu, choose Group | Group. You can then copy the entire group (the chart and all the shapes) to the Word document.

The approaches discussed so far allow the chart and shapes to still be treated as objects when they are copied into your Word document. If, instead, you want to insert a picture of the chart and shapes (i.e., to "flatten" the image, as you noted), then you have a few options.

First, you could use the Snipping tool which is included in Windows. It allows you to grab a portion of the screen as a picture in the Clipboard. You can then paste it into Word very easily. Second, you could use some of the grabbing tools provided in Word. With your document open, display the Insert tab of the ribbon. You can then use the Screenshot tool (in the Illustrations group) to insert an entire screenshot of the Excel worksheet or you can use the Screen Clipping option to insert just a portion of the screen.

Finally, you could also use a third-party screen-shot grabber, such as SnagIt from Techsmith. These stand-alone tools provide great capabilities to grab all or part of a screen and either save it to disk or copy it directly to a document.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9988) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Using the Spike to Edit

Most Word users are proficient in cutting and pasting text using the Clipboard. One of the lesser-known editing tools, ...

Discover More

Moving and Copying Graphics Objects

Excel doesn't just work with numbers and text. You can also add graphics objects to your worksheets, and then use Excel's ...

Discover More

Changing Orientation of a Text Box

Want to change how a text box is oriented on the page? You can't do it, but you can adjust the dimensions of the box ...

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Reading Values from Graphs

Adding a trendline to a graph will allow you to see trends a bit easier, depending on your data. You can even utilize an ...

Discover More

Making Sure that Data Accompanies a Chart

When sending a chart to someone else, it can be frustrating for the other person to open the workbook and see errors ...

Discover More

Excluding Some Data from a Chart

Excel is a whiz at creating charts from your worksheet data. When the program tries to determine what should be included ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 2 + 5?

2021-03-27 10:31:04

J. Woolley

You might be interested in the freely available SelectionImage macro in My Excel Toolbox. It will copy a range of cells as an image and save it in a PNG file. Everything visible in the range including charts and shapes will be visible in the image, which can subsequently be inserted into a Word document. Using the SelectionImage macro is somewhat easier than the methods described in the Tip.
See https://sites.google.com/view/MyExcelToolbox/


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.