When professionals present financial or operational data from Excel, they often make these two mistakes when they move that data into PowerPoint. Learn what you need to do in order to avoid these mistakes.
2 Big Mistakes Professionals make using Excel data in PowerPoint
using Excel data in
My name is Dave Paradi of
over the last 14 years of working
with presenters, I see
professionals make two big
mistakes when they use Excel
data in a PowerPoint
Let’s start with Mistake #2.
Copying the entire
spreadsheet onto the
Economic Action Plan 2013 announced $872 million in total investments for Aboriginal and Northern communities,
which will allow them to participate more fully in Canada's economy and benefit from its growth. Of the total investment,
about $618 million is directed toward Aboriginal Peoples and their communities. The remaining $254 million provides
investments for Northerners. The majority of the investments ($545 million) will be spent within the first two years.
Operating Environment – Economic Action Plan
Years Total 2013-14 2014-15
Years Total 2013-14 2014-15
Investing in Training for On-Reserve Income Assistance Recipients ($241 million
over 5 years)
32 51 158 241 19 24 89 133 13 27 69 109
First Nations Land Management Regime 2 7 - 9 2 7 - 9 - - - -
Renewal of the Family Violence Prevention Program 12 12 - 24 12 12 - 24 - - - -
Introducing a First Nation Education Act (commitment) - - - - - - - - - - - -
Supporting Post-Secondary Education for First Nations and Inuit Students 5 5 - 10 5 5 - 10 - - - -
Promoting Business Studies Among Aboriginal Students
($5 million over 5 years)
1 1 3 5 1 1 3 5 - - - -
Support for Pathways to Education Canada – Winnipeg (commitment) - - - - - - - - - - - -
Supporting First Nations Fishing Enterprises 33 - - 33 - - - - 33 - - 33
Support for First Nations Infrastructure ($155 million over
10 years – notional annual allocation)
- 16 140 155 - 16 140 155 - - - -
Continued Support Under the Capital Facilities and Maintenance Program (commitment) - - - - - - - - - - - -
Resolving Specific Claims 27 27 - 54 23 23 - 46 4 4 - 8
First Nations Policing Program 18 18 - 36 - - - - 18 18 - 36
Aboriginal Justice Strategy 11 - - 11 - - - - 11 - - 11
Improving Health Services to First Nations Communities 24 24 - 48 - - - - 24 24 - 48
Enhancing Mental Health Services in First Nations Communities 2 2 - 4 - - - - 2 2 - 4
Sub-Total 167 162 301 630 62 87 232 381 105 75 69 249
Less: funds sourced from internal reallocations (1) (11) - (12) - - - - (1) (11) - (12)
Sub-Total (Aboriginal Peoples) 166 151 301 618 62 87 232 381 104 64 69 237
Supporting Yukon College’s Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining (commitment to
match funding from the Yukon government and the private sector)
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Supporting Junior Mineral Exploration 135 (35) - 100 - - - - 135 (35) - 100
Increased Investment for construction of an all-season gravel road from Inuvik to
Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories ($150 million previously announced in Economic
Action Plan 2011 – incremental investment of $50 million in Economic Action Plan 2013
is notionally allocated over 4 years)
13 13 25 50 - - - - 13 13 25 50
Investment in Nunavut Housing 30 70 - 100 - - - - 30 70 - 100
Protecting Against Invasive Species ($4 million over 3 years) 2 2 1 4 - - - - 2 2 1 4
179 49 26 254 - - - - 179 49 26 254
Total Investments 345 200 327 872 62 87 232 381 283 113 95 491
Sub-Total (Aboriginal and Northern Communities)
Figures may not add due to rounding
Total AANDC Other Government Departments
Aboriginal and Northern Communities
Yes, this is a slide from a real presentation!
All those numbers on the slide lead to two big
Problem #1: Delayed decisions
confused, they won’t
Problem #2: Wasting time discussing
irrelevant details that an executive noticed in
Why do professionals copy entire
spreadsheets onto slides?
Two reasons are given by many
Reason #1: It is easy
Reason #2: They are convinced that the
executives NEED all the data.
Focus on the insights, not the data or
Data is anything we measure.
And we measure more today
than ever before. But data is
only a number. It doesn’t have
meaning on its own.
We turn it into information by comparing it to some
desired standard. Like our goal, industry average,
competitor’s market share, or last year’s number.
Now we know if it is above or below the desired level.
The insight is what the
results of the analysis
mean in the context of
your business. What
does your analysis
mean for these
executives? How will it
help them make a
better decision? That’s
what they need to
hear from you.
What should you do instead of copying the
entire spreadsheet on the slide?
Step 1: Write a headline for each slide
capturing the key message the executives
need to know. If you have multiple messages,
create multiple slides.
Step 2: Create an effective visual instead of a
huge table of numbers.
Here’s what the original spreadsheet slide
looks like now.
Majority of investments announced will be spent in the
first two years and go to Aboriginal Peoples
1st Two Years,
62.5% to be
spent in first
Amounts in $millions
The message is much clearer with a visual
that uses only the key data
Step 3: Hide the details
Put the details on a hidden slide if you want
them in the deck for those receiving it by
Add hyperlinks from the slide to the source
spreadsheet or the hidden slides to access
the details during the presentation if the
executives ask about them.
There is no reason
for this …
when you can
Some of the options for pasting Excel cells or
graphs into PowerPoint embed the entire
Excel workbook in the PowerPoint file.
Anyone who has the PowerPoint file can
access all the cells on all the tabs in the
This looks like a regular table on a slide. But it
is an embedded Excel workbook. When you
double-click on it …
you can see the entire workbook in an
embedded Excel workspace. Any confidential
information is now exposed.
How does this happen?
When copying cells, if you choose Paste
Special – Excel Worksheet Object, it embeds
the entire workbook.
When copying a graph, if you choose to
Paste the graph and Embed the Workbook,
editing the data for that one graph opens the
entire workbook because it is embedded.
What should you do instead?
Select a Paste option that does not embed
a) Use an option that links to the source
Excel file (still allows others to access the
entire workbook if they have access to the
b) Use the values from Excel and create the
table or graph in PowerPoint
Let’s recap the 2 mistakes & what you can do
Copying the entire
What you can do
Create an effective visual instead
Hide the details and access details
only if requested
Use a Paste option that does not
embed the workbook
Click here to get a free 24 page ebook on How to Present
your Excel data effectively to Executives. It covers details of
how to move the data off the slide, how to create effective
graphs and other visuals in Excel, and recommended
options for copying Excel data to PowerPoint.
If you would like me to help
your team create presentations
that have a clear message with
focused content and effective
visuals, get in touch: