colour me worried
March 14, 2011 11:50 PM   Subscribe

Help! My painstaking hours in Excel won't transfer to Powerpoint!

I just spent FOREVER trying to add colour to a graph in Excel. The graph was copied and pasted from a pdf file of an article.

I want the graph to go on a poster that I have due tomorrow morning. However, when I tried to copy and paste my new colourful version, it just came out as black and white on Powerpoint.

I have colour selected on Powerpoint. The way I coloured my graph was by inserting shapes (ex rectangles) over the ones that were there, and then adding colour to them. I realized that I can move the original graph away and the coloured bars remain.

This took me a really long time! How can I save my efforts?
posted by whalebreath to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If I try to select the entire picture of the graph and copy it to Excel, it just says
posted by whalebreath at 11:54 PM on March 14, 2011

One solution is to take a screenshot of the graph in Excel, then crop all but the graph out using MS Paint or another image editing program, then paste into powerpoint. It's imperfect because it will go fuzzy if you resize it but you should be able to make it work.

Also -- when you paste, does a little 'paste options' button appear, with a drop-down? There are a few different ways you can tell Office to interpret the paste data depending which one of these you choose. Try pasting and clicking a different setting.
posted by PercussivePaul at 12:14 AM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Try this:

- Select the graph in Excel AND all the shapes by keeping CTRL pressed. If you have inserted a lot of shapes, you might miss one or two, so be prepared to repeat this.

- Under Format (on the Office Ribbon in 2007 or under the menu in older versions), click Group -> Group. this will group the chart and shapes into one item.

- Select the grouped chart and paste into Powerpoint. After pasting, you will see the clipboard appearing in the bottom right corner of the graph. Select "Paste as Picture". This should keep all your formatting as-is.

Good luck with your paper and let us know what worked for you.
posted by theobserver at 12:14 AM on March 15, 2011

Oh wait when you move the graph around in Powerpoint are the coloured bars sitting there underneath? This could be a simple ordering problem. Right click on the black and white graph and click 'send to back'.

When you copy the graph in Excel in order to paste to Powerpoint are you selecting everything at once, or just the graph? If you click on the graph to select it, it will copy only the graph, not the bars. You have to drag a box around the whole thing, graph and bars, before copying.
posted by PercussivePaul at 12:16 AM on March 15, 2011

Copy the chart in Excel (ctrl-c), and tab to Powerpoint. Hold down shift and open the edit menu, select 'paste special', 'paste as picture' and then your choice of windows enhanced metafiler; jpeg etc. Try them all and see which you like the look of best.
posted by bifter at 2:36 AM on March 15, 2011

Heh. "enhanced metafilter", bifter?

One trick I've found useful for copying things out of Excel is to select a rectangle of cells behind your drawing/chart, hitting Ctrl-C, and then Pasting Special -> Enhanced Metafile into PowerPoint. This ensures that nothing in the drawing gets left out. You will need to have visible gridlines turned off for that to work well, though.

If that doesn't do it, I'm with PercussivePaul -- screencap it.
posted by Jonathan Harford at 5:38 AM on March 15, 2011

Bifter has it--instead of just pasting, use 'paste special', see which option you like best. I think I generally use the jpg option. (I think the 'metafilter' option Bifter refers to is actually called 'Windows Enhanced Metafile'.)
posted by lemonade at 6:03 AM on March 15, 2011

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