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Excel in PowerPoint for Macintosh

Reviewed: Jim Gordon

Date Created: March 14th 2008
Last Updated: March 2nd 2009

James Gordon (pictured to the right) has been a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) since 2000 and can be found in the Microsoft Macintosh newsgroups for Excel, PowerPoint and Word. PowerPoint users will recognize Jim as the creator of InsertPicture add-in for Macintosh. He has made other add-ins and templates for Excel, PowerPoint and Word and is knowledgeable about graphs and mail merge. At SUNY University at Buffalo, Jim works helping faculty, staff and instructors with a wide array of technologies for higher education.

Do visit James' site...

This article was originally authored by Naresh Nichani and Brian Reilly for Microsoft Office for Windows -- James consented to do a Mac version of the technique.

Product Showcase

Office 2008 for Mac All-in-One For Dummies Office 2011 for Mac All-in-One For Dummies

If you liked this tutorial, do look at this book, authored by Geetesh Bajaj and James Gordon . This book is the single most comprehensive content for Microsoft's latest Office suite offering for Mac users. Check the book on

Although you can copy and paste an Excel sheet inside a PowerPoint slide, there's an alternative method. Microsoft Excel possesses an amazingly intuitive and powerful calculation engine -- and tons of formulae.

Let us say you need to present some financial projections and also do some “what-if” analyses on these financial projections.

Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Create a new, blank presentation in PowerPoint, or add a new, blank slide to an existing one. Change the layout of the slide to either Blank of Title.

    PowerPoint 2004 and earlier users can choose Format | Slide Layout, and apply the new layout within the relevant dialog box (see Figure 1) or task pane, or use the Formatting Palette.

    Slide Layout

    Figure 1: Slide Layout

    PowerPoint 2008 users can click Slide Layouts under the Elements Gallery -- and then choose the relevant layout option (see Figure 2).

    Slide Layout
    Figure 2: Slide Layout
  1. Now you will add an Excel spreadsheet object to this blank slide. From the Insert menu choose Object | Microsoft Excel Sheet (or Microsoft Excel Worksheet in older PowerPoint versions) as shown in Figure 3.

    Insert Object
    Figure 3: Insert Object

  2. Enter financial values and calculations into the Excel object. The spreadsheet below (see Figure 3) is an example of some very simple calculations.

    View Control Toolbox
    Figure 3: Enter Values

    • Sales are $200,000 (cell D2).
    • Fixed costs are $50,000 (cell D3).
    • Variable costs are 65% of sales – $130,000 (cell D4)
    • Net Profit is $20,000 i.e. Sales – (Fixed Costs + Variable Costs). It is in cell D5.
    • In your presentation, you may want to allow the audience to enter different profit goals, and see what sales they need to achieve to meet those profit goals.
    • Cell D7 is an entry cell to enter the profit goal.
    • Cell D8 is the sales you need to achieve to meet the profit goal in cell C7.
    • The formulae are listed in the E column for all D column entries

Remember, you don't have to manually input all the values above if you download the sample presentation...

Note: When in PowerPoint’s Normal View you can edit the embedded Excel by double-clicking it. OpenSource Active-X has not been ported to the Mac, so you cannot edit or open the workbook while the slide show is running.

Power User Tip:
  Office 2004 and earlier supports Visual Basic for Applications as well as ODBC connections and web queries to a wide variety of databases. Using various combinations these technologies it is possible to update workbooks automatically when the presentation runs so that live data feeds are possible. Visual Basic for Applications is not supported in Office 2008.

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    since November 02, 2000