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Link to Excel Cells and Ranges from PowerPoint 2013 for Windows

Learn how you can link to a particular cell or range in Excel from within PowerPoint 2013.


Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2013
OS: Windows 7 and higher

Do you want to link to an Excel file from within PowerPoint? You can then use the technique explained within our Linking to Any File in PowerPoint 2013 tutorial. However, click on the link, and you will end up opening your Excel file at the last saved location. What if you always wanted your link to access a particular cell or a range of cells in Excel? This is possible, but you will rarely find this secret option documented at all!

Follow these steps to get started in PowerPoint 2013:

  1. Make sure that both the Excel file you want to link to and the PowerPoint presentation you wish to link from are within the same folder on your computer (see Figure 1 below).

    Excel and PowerPoint files within the same folder
    Figure 1: Excel and PowerPoint files within the same folder
  2. Launch Excel and open the file you want to link to. Make sure you select one cell or even a range of contiguous cells (see area highlighted in red within Figure 2). Note that the top left cell within the range (or an individual cell) you selected is mentioned in the cell address area, highlighted in blue within Figure 2.

    Select a cell or a range of cells
    Figure 2: Select a cell or a range of cells

    What is a Range?

    A Range spans contiguous cells. The range address uses the syntax top-left cell:bottom-right cell, as in A1:D4 – this range would encompass all cells from A1 until D4, including any empty cells (see Figure 3, below)

    A range in Excel
    Figure 3: A range in Excel
  3. Now type a name for your range within the Name Box area, overwriting any existing cell address (highlighted in red within Figure 4, below). Then press the Enter key immediately. If you click anywhere else and not press the Enter key, your Range name will not be saved. Remember this name. Save your Excel file and exit.

    Your named range
    Figure 4: Your named range

    Range Naming Limitations

    There are some limitations for a name you can provide for a Range in Microsoft Excel:

    • You cannot use spaces in your Range names
    • Range names need to start with a letter, although you can use numbers too – but you cannot start a Range name with a number.
    • If you need to separate words, you can use the Underscore but Dashes are not permitted.
    • You cannot use several special characters such as /, ^.
  4. Now open your PowerPoint presentation and navigate to the slide where you want to add a link.
  5. Select an anchor on any slide. An “anchor” is any slide object that you can select, as explained in our Anatomy of a Link tutorial. As you can see in Figure 5, we selected a basic Rectangle Shape.

    Select your anchor
    Figure 5: Select your anchor
  6. With your shape selected, access the Insert tab of the Ribbon. Then click the Hyperlink button as shown highlighted in red within Figure 6, below.

    The Hyperlink button
    Figure 6: The Hyperlink button
  7. You can also press the Ctrl + K keyboard shortcut instead of clicking the Hyperlink button. Want more keyboard shortcuts? Get a copy of our PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences e-book.

    This will bring up the Insert Hyperlink dialog box that you can see in Figure 7. Make sure you select the Existing File or Web Page option in the sidebar, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 7.

    Link to an Excel range
    Figure 7: Link to an Excel range
  8. Next, choose the Current Folder option within the Look in area, highlighted in blue within Figure 7, above. Select the Excel file within the same folder that already has a named Range added. Then within the Address area, suffix the file name with a # sign, and also the name of the Range that you want to link to, as shown highlighted in orange within Figure 7. The format you will use is:

    < FileName >#< RangeName >

    Finally, click the OK button, highlighted in green within Figure 7.
  9. Now play the presentation in Slide Show view. Click the anchor to test the hyperlink. Also do note that you can thus link to multiple Ranges in the same Excel file! So one anchor in your PowerPoint may link to a Range on Sheet 1 of your Excel file whereas another anchor may link to another Range in the same Excel file on Sheet 1 again (or any other worksheet / range / cell).

PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences:
PowerPoint 2016, 2013, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003 for Windows
PowerPoint 2016 and 2011 for Mac
PowerPoint Online for Windows and Mac

Have your ever used keyboard shortcuts and sequences in PowerPoint? Or are you a complete keyboard aficionado? Do you want to learn about some new shortcuts? Or do you want to know if your favorite keyboard shortcuts are documented?

Go and get a copy of our PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences ebook.

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