PowerPoint: New and Improved Slide Show Recording

If you haven’t visited PowerPoint’s recording options for a while, you are missing out. The Record Slide Show feature is typically utilized when your end goal is to export your presentation to a video format; either to be posted online somewhere or in a kiosk setting. Previously Record Slide Show would allow you to record audio to go along with your presentation. Then you could export a complete video showing your slides with your voiceover.ย  This was already a great tool, but the feature received a fantastic facelift in 365, enabling even more abilities. Let’s take a look.

Slide show tab, Record Slide Show circled

Record Slide Show

Record Slide Show lives on the Slide Show tab, Set Up group.

Slide show tab, Record Slide Show circledYou have the choice to start from the selected slide, or from the beginning of the show.Slide Show Dropdown

Control Center

The new control center for recording a slide show is phenomenal. Within this screen are the following tools:

Slide Show COntrol Center

1. Start or Stop Recording

In the upper left part of the screen is the ability to start or stop recording. Once you create a recording, there will also be the ability here to replay what you have created.

Recording buttons

2. Notes

In the center of the screen is a way to access any notes that are tied to a slide. Click on the dropdown to view them.

Notes dropdown

To the right of the Notes dropdown is the ability to make the text of the notes larger or smaller, signified by a large and small “A”.

Text Size adjustment for notes

If you would like to learn how to create Notes, please attend a PowerPoint Essentials session!

3. Incorporate Front Facing Camera to Record Yourself

The exciting aspect of the improved feature is that it will incorporate your computer’s camera to allow you to record audio and video of yourself within the recording. Your video will appear in the lower right of the PowerPoint presentation.

There is the ability to turn off audio or video below the image.

Camera Settings

Note: if you do not have a camera or microphone, the options will be greyed out. You will still be able to record a slide show, however, and can incorporate things like markup (below).

Camera Settings, no cameras detected

4. Markup

In the bottom center of the screen are some markup tools. As with all markup tools, this will work best with a stylus, if possible.

The recording will incorporate your markup as you create it.

Markup Tools

5. Slide Number and Timer

Lastly, in the lower left you will see slide number and a timer.

Slide number and timer

A Couple Notes


Most of the shortcuts in the Record Slide Show view will be similar to those you have been using in Slide Show view:

  • To advance to the next slide, you can use your usual method: the space bar, an arrow key, a clicker, etc.
  • To escape from this view, click your Esc key.
  • Caution: some shortcuts, like W for whiteboard, or B for a black screen, do not work in this view.

Export Options

Don’t forget, you can export your final document via your usual method,

1. File –> Export

2. Select a method. In the case below, I selected Create a Video.

3. Be sure you have selected Use Recorded Timings and Narrations to incorporate your recording.

Export Options, Create a video selected, Use recorded timings and narrations

**Important: if you receive an error when you try to open the video, give it a little time. Often the icon for the exported video appears before the video has finished exporting. Give it a few minutes and you should be good to go.


Did you know about this improved feature? What do you think?

Congratulations, Power Users!

Congratulations to our newest Power Users! For the full gallery, and more information about the WSU Microsoft Office Power User Program, please visit: wichita.edu/poweruser

Michelle Dehaven

Microsoft PowerUp! Videos Posted: Check Out What’s New in Office 365

Almost 150 people attended the special Microsoft PowerUp! Sessions…ย  If you missed them, or even if you attended and wanted to revisit some of the special content, videos are available now!

The purpose of these sessions was to give everyone a quick update on some of the highlights now available (or coming soon, depending on your update schedule) in Microsoft Office 365. Keep an eye out for future sessions as more updates are released…

PowerPoint Updates

Word Updates

Excel Updates

Bonus Content: Sandy

This is Sandy (Power User!), with a very kind testimonial. 😊😊


Congratulations, Power Users!

Congratulations to our newest Power Users! For the full gallery, and more information about the WSU Microsoft Office Power User Program, please visit: wichita.edu/poweruser


Erin LeBegue (not pictured)

Chris Leonard

Chris Leonard


Tyra Miles

Tyra Miles


Marsha Compton

Marsha Compton

Microsoft Office 365 PowerUp! Sessions

New Session for WSU Faculty and Staff

Microsoft Office 365 at WSU will feature biannual updates, so you will start seeing new buttons and features appear in your ribbon periodically (perhaps you have noticed a few already). So, we are testing out something new…

Microsoft PowerUp!

  • The sessions will be called Microsoft PowerUp!
  • PowerUp is intended to showcase new features in 365, and will contain new information not covered in previous Microsoft Office sessions.
  • The sessions will be quick. These are demos, not full training sessions, so you can plan for about an hour.
  • Two January sessions will be offered: January 8th and 15th. ย 
  • Sessions are listed in myTraining, so sign up now and we will save you a spot and a free guide!


Microsoft Office: Color Themes and Custom Color Palettes

Working with color themes in Microsoft Office can open up a whole world of possibilities for customizing your documents. Most people don’t realize how much they are already interacting with themes in Office, or how much control they can have with just a couple clicks. Let’s check it out. But first, a special thank you to Sheree for having some excellent color palette questions in an Excel Essentials session a couple weeks ago and inspiring this Byte.

Exercise File

You can follow along on one of your existing documents, or if you would like a starting place, here is a Word document you can start with:

This is a Word document with a few visual elements that incorporate theme colors. These are all things that will be effected by altering the color theme.

Themes and Color Palettes

What does it mean to apply a color theme? In most of your Office programs, you are already using a color theme, whether you realize it or not. The default is the Office color theme. You see your theme colors in everything from the color options for your fonts, to your default headers, to tables and charts… and more.

In the test file you downloaded, you are seeing it in the headers, the chart, the icons and the table…

One of the easiest ways to check your current palette is to visit the Home tab, Font group, and click on the dropdwon arrow next to the Font Color.

Notice how there are Theme colors, and Standard Colors. The Theme colors display your current color palette. There are gradations underneath each main theme color…. lighter and darker versions of each of the theme colors to create contrast.

Change the Color Theme

Changing your color theme is simple!

1. Go to the Design tab, Document Formatting group. (By the way, this is also where you can go to change your default font settings for the document).

2. Select the Colors dropdown to see a full list of themes. Hover your mouse over each color palette to see a preview.

3. Select a color theme by clicking on it.

Because theme colors are utilized in so many ways in this document, we really see a change in appearance!

Custom Color Palettes

If you are artistically inclined, you might be interested in creating your own custom color themes.

1. In the Design tab, Document Formatting group, click on the Colors dropdown again, but instead of selecting a predefined color set, select Customize Colors…

2. Click on the dropdown beside any of the accent colors to make an alteration. Typically Accent 1 is the color you will see the most in a document.

3. You have the ability to select colors from a color wheel, or select More Colors to enter an exact RGB color.

4. When you are finished, name the color palette and click Save.

5. The new color set will appear in a new section at the top of the Colors dropdown called Custom.

You will be able to access this color palette anytime you create a new document on this computer.

Accessing Custom Color Themes in other Microsoft Programs

Once you have created a color theme that you like, you may want to access it in other programs. Microsoft knows this, so has made them accessible to you in many of your Office programs. They are in slightly different locations though, so let’s take a look.


In PowerPoint, you often see color themes even more prominently than in Word. Here is one popular theme called Berlin, that features a red and yellow color set.

1. In PowerPoint, visit the Design tab, Variants group.

2. Select the dropdown arrow in the lower right:

3. Here is where you will see your color theme options, plus the new custom color you just created in Word. Neat!

This definitely changes the look of this document…


In Excel, Color themes affect features like tables, charts, shapes, and fonts. The default in Excel is the Office color set as well. These colors should look familiar:

1. In Excel, visit the Page Layout tab, Themes group.

2. Select the Colors dropdown.

3. Here is your custom color theme again… no need to reinvent the wheel.


Outlook? Did you read that right? Yep! Outlook also has the same themes and color sets you know and love from your other Office programs.

1. Open up a new email.

2. Visit the Options tab, Themes group.

3. Click on the Colors dropdown, and there you are…


What do you think? Do you think you will utilize custom color themes in your Office documents? By the way, if you create a cool WSU themed color theme, I would love it if you would share it with me!

Congratulations, Power Users!

Congratulations to our newest Power Users! For the full gallery, and more information about the WSU Microsoft Office Power User Program, please visit: wichita.edu/poweruser

Madelyne Toney

Linda Claypool

Susan Johnson

Karen Wilson

Jaime Scherer

Jessica Casper

Cara Tucker

Linda Young (not pictured)

5 Tips for Optimizing Charts

Charts can be incredibly challenging. They represent where the right brain and left brain meet… where computations and numbers collide with art and color. To be able to convey true meaning with graphics is a very special skill; here are 5 tips to help you along the way.

Line chart showing two years of chocolate pie revenue

1. Determine Your Message

Two important questions to ask yourself before you dive in to chart creation:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What is your message for them?

Cognitive Overload: Be Kind to Your Audience

One mistake a lot of us make is overloading the audience with too much information. This concept is called cognitive overload. Sometimes we zoom out in an attempt to show lots of data… and end up burying the story we are trying to tell in the process. The audience loses patience, and the entire message is lost.

Horribly messy pie chart titled Star Trek Fans

Consider this unfortunate pie chart… what story was the creator trying to tell? We are going to find some better solutions for this data shortly.

Audience Motivations

Some other important questions to ask are:

  • What is important to your audience?
  • What motivates them?
  • What is their level of knowledge on the topic?

All of these questions should influence the way you determine your message. We are going to revisit this first point frequently throughout this article. Even though it seems like the simplest of concepts, it is often the most forgotten.

2. Select the Right Chart Type

If the picture above gave you minor palpitations, part of the problem may be that someone picked the wrong chart to convey this information. There was a lot of data to comprehend here, more than a pie chart could feasibly tolerate. The chart below uses the exact same data set formatted as a column chart. Is this easier to understand?

Column chart showing star trek fans by state

Alright, the message is still pretty unclear, but we are moving in the right direction.

Here are a few general rules for selecting chart types:

Pie Charts

  • Pie charts should contain no more than 5 pieces, and preferably fewer than that.
  • Pie charts are supposed to show portions of a whole, so the whole should ideally be represented, even if you incorporate grouping (discussed next).
  • Remember your message and your audience (Tip #1), and then consider: are all your pie pieces all the same size? If so, is this pie chart really showing what you want to tell? Maybe it is… maybe your story is that all things are equally represented. But if that is not your message, consider a bar or column chart.
  • Consider incorporating data labels and callouts for further clarification.
Pie Chart titled Favorite Weekend day, showing 86% Saturday and 14% Sunday (fictional data).

Bar Charts and Column Charts

Bar and Column Charts are a great option if you have more information to display.

  • The main difference between bar charts and column charts is that bar charts are composed of horizontal data bars and column charts are composed of vertical data bars.
  • Both are great options for showing larger numbers of data sets.
  • Still, beware of cognitive overload with too much information (see Narrow your Focus for more tips below).
  • Clustered column charts are great for showing quick comparisons between small groups.
Clustered column chart showing dessert sales by three people.

Line Charts

  • Line charts do well comparing two competing data sets over a time period, like monthly sales figures this year stacked up against sales figures last year.
  • They also can help a viewer quickly ascertain overall trends at a glance.
  • One tip: when possible, start the Y axis at 0. This should already be the default setting.
Chocolate pie revenue line chart showing two years of data.

So Many More…

There are so many more charts to choose from! Check out this helpful Chart Chooser for more assistance with selecting the right type of chart.

3. Narrow Your Focus

For this section, I would like to revisit our original problem chart from the beginning. Remember, we started with this:

Horribly messy pie chart titled Star Trek Fans

And changed the chart type to a column chart:

Column chart showing star trek fans by state

…but this is still not an ideal situation.

What story do you want to tell?

Tip #1 will help you narrow your focus for this step. In this case, we had a (fictional) chart of total U.S. Star Trek fans broken down by state. Let’s explore a few stories you may want to tell with this data.

Avoid displaying too much information

Because all the states are represented, this means there are 50 data points. Do we really need to show all of this information? Perhaps, you decide that the story you want to tell is to show the states with the highest rates of Star Trek Fans.

How about removing the states that are not pertinent to your story? Let’s try to narrow our focus by filtering out some unnecessary information (i.e. the lower figures in the data set) with the filter button to the right of the chart.

Filter dropdown next to chart

This leaves us with a more manageable data set, down from 50 points to 7…. let’s keep going.

Column chart titled states with the most star trek fans, showing 7 states.

Highlight Important Information

Another useful technique to drive home a point is to use contrast to highlight important information, visually pulling it to the foreground. Select any data bar, right click, and select Fill to choose any color in the color wheel.

Right click menu, fill selected.

Let’s make use of this opportunity to pull the highest states to the foreground with a deep color, and grey out the others, pushing them to the background.

Take a look at the same filtered graph, recolored. Maybe the story you want to tell is that Hawaii, Kansas and New York had the highest populations of Star Trek fans… if so, this could be a cool way to do it.

Column chart for states with the most star trek fans, with highest figures in a darker red shade.

Group information together

We initially started with a pie chart, and there still might be a case for this type of chart with this data. Grouping together pieces of information is another great way to focus in on your overall message.

Perhaps your goal is to spotlight Kansas, and tell the audience that Kansas contains 5% of the country’s Star Trek Fans. Why not group together the states that are less relevant? We can also incorporate the previous highlighting technique.

This is much easier on the eyes than the original pie chart.

Star trek fans by state, showing Kansas pulled out on its own and the other states grouped together.

Do you see why asking yourself the questions in Tip #1 can put you on the right track for creating a meaningful chart?

4. Choose Words Carefully

Take a look at the chart below. ..

Very wordy pie chart

How long did it take you to grasp the meaning of this chart?

Wherever possible, keep the words to a minimum. And when in doubt, refer back to Tip #1 and ask yourself:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What is your message?
  • How much time would you like them to look at your chart, and what would make the biggest impact?
simpler pie chart: people who like pie.

Remember, the point of a chart is to create a visual illustration of data. More words means less visual impact…

5. Don’t Forget About Your Colorblind Friends

Hey, don’t forget about your colorblind friends!

  • Approximately 8% of the male population and 0.5% of the female population is colorblind or color deficient. This means if 1000 people will be viewing your chart, about 45 of them may not be able to differentiate between certain colors.
  • You can still use color in your charts… Just remember that you don’t want to use color alone to convey meaning.
  • This is something we have talked about before, so if you would like to read more information about the use of color in documents, check out my previous article on the subject.

Just remember, this chart may look perfectly clear to you:

Student Satisfaction pie chart, inaccessible colors.

… but here is how it looks to someone with the most common type of color blindness:

Student Satisfaction pie chart from before, run through a color blindness filter, and the pieces are indistinguishable.

More Notes and Disclaimers

You probably know this stuff, but just in case…

  • You have seen example charts throughout this article. All the data used to create the charts is entirely fictional.
  • Do you want to learn more about how to make charts? Please attend one of my Excel: Pivot Tables, Charts and Pictures sessions listed in myTraining.


Okay, what do you think Power Users? Do you think you will be able to put some of these tips to use with your data? I would love to hear from you!

Congratulations, Power Users!

Congratulations to our newest Power Users! For the full gallery, and more information about the WSU Microsoft Office Power User Program, please visit: wichita.edu/poweruser

Tera Park

Tera Park

Mary Ann Hollander

Mary Ann Hollander

John Keckeisen

John Keckeisen

Amanda Conner

Amanda Conner

PowerPoint: Custom Slide Shows

Did you know that you can create custom slide shows in PowerPoint? Let’s say you have a PowerPoint document that you would like to use for two different presentations, but you have a few different slides that you would like to show for each presentation. You can easily create several custom slide shows from the same document. Let’s check it out.


If you would like to follow along, you may download today’s exercise here:

This is a PowerPoint document about Wichita State University. The data is all fictional, of course!

The idea is that you would like to create two possible presentations from this one document: one presentation for parents and one for students.

Set Up Custom Slide Shows

1. Go to the Slide Show tab in the ribbon.

2. In the Start Slide Show group, select the dropdown for Custom Slide Show and select Custom Shows.

3. In the popup that appears, press New.

4. Give the slide show a name in the box provided. Perhaps our first one will be the student presentation, so we can title it Student Show.

5. Select the slides you would like to appear in the slide show: perhaps everything except Finances and Statistics.

6. Press the Add button, and make sure the slides appear on the right pane. Notice you have the ability to rearrange the slide order with the arrows on the right.

7. Press OK.

8. Repeat the steps above, but this time create a Parent Show, consisting of all the slides except Recreation.

9. Now when you visit the Custom Slide Show dropdown, Custom Shows, you can see both the shows you created.

Access Custom Slide Shows

Are you ready to show one of your presentations? Revisit the Custom Slide Show dropdown, and select either the Student Show or the Parent Show to start one of these presentations.


What do you think? How will you use Custom Slide Shows?

Congratulations, Power Users!

Congratulations to our newest Power Users! For the full gallery, and more information about the WSU Microsoft Office Power User Program, please visit: wichita.edu/poweruser

Carody Bryan

Linda Steinacher

PowerPoint: Creating Master Slide Layouts

Why would someone want to alter a Master Slide in PowerPoint? Several reasons… Sometimes you are making a simple alteration to the overall formatting or appearance of your slides – we do this in PowerPoint Essentials training. Other times you might want to do what we are about to do today, which is to make a larger layout change for your presentation. Altering the Master Slide might sound intimidating, but it can be a huge time saving step… and can make uniformity of your presentation so much simpler. Let’s check it out.

Exercise Files

No exercise file today! You can open PowerPoint to your favorite theme (or even no theme at all). For reference, my screen shots are showing the Gallery theme.

Master Slides

You have seen Master Slides before, even if you didn’t know where they lived. Whenever you select New Slide on the Home tab, you were picking from preset Master Slides. You probably noticed these options change when you select a different theme… that is because each theme comes with its own unique set of Master Slides.

New Slide view

Let’s find where these Master Slides live. In the View tab of the ribbon, Master Views group, select Slide Master.

View tab, slide master button circled

This can be a bit disorienting at first. Your presentation seems to disappear (but don’t worry, it is still there!), and you are thrown onto a new tab called Slide Master with a plethora of options.

Slide Master tab

At any time, you can leave Master View by selecting Close Master View in the Slide Master tab.

Close Master View circled

Master Slide View and Creating Layouts

Let’s make some adjustments to the Master Slides.

1. Go to View tab, Slide Master (instructions above).

2. On the left side of the screen, notice a list of all the existing layouts. Hover your mouse over one of them to see the name appear.

Mouse hovered over slide layout to see title
  • Notice there is a plethora of options on a right click menu… more on this later. But for now, notice that if you like a layout, and want an additional slightly altered version of it, you have the ability to duplicate and alter.
Right click menu, duplicate circled

3. In the Slide Master tab, go to the Edit Master group an select Insert Layout.

Insert Layout circled

4. In your new layout, find the Master Layout group, and select the dropdown for Insert Placeholder.

Insert Placeholder circled

5. Notice you have the option to limit content to a specific type, or insert generic content (what you are most used to seeing in layouts). We are going to insert Content.

Insert Placeholder options

6. Your cursor will change to a cross hair. Draw out a box the size you would like your content box to be on your slides.

Drawing a placeholder

7. Let’s do another one. Go back to Insert Placeholder (above), and this time select SmartArt. Draw out this box next to the Content box you created. Notice you can use the PowerPoint guides (red dashed lines) to see if the boxes have lined up properly.

Size guides
  • You should be left with a layout similar to this:
Final new layout

8. Remember how we explored the right click options earlier? Find your new layout in the slide list on the left. Right click on top of it, and select Rename Layout.

Right click menu, rename selected

9. Give it a new name that you will easily be able to identify.

Name box

Test Out Your New Slide

Let’s test it out! Remember to leave the Master View, go to the Slide Master Tab, and select Close Master View on the right.

Close Master View button circled

You will be taken back to your presentation. Select the New Slide dropdown. Do you see your new layout?

Newly created master slide visible in New Slide dropdown

More About Master Slide View

While you were in Master Slide View, You might have noticed a couple of other things about the Master Slide tab…

Themes, Colors and Fonts

In PowerPoint Essentials training, we talk about manipulating themes, colors and fonts on the Design tab… the Master Slide tab contains another way to access these same features.

Themes, Colors, Fonts on Master Slide View


To the left of where we selected Insert Placeholder, you might notice a checked box for Title. This is a very important little box.

Master Layout: Title

Luckily this box is checked by default, but be sure not to uncheck it. All of your slides should have a title: this is usually found at the top of your slide. If you were to remove this title box and replace it with a text box for instance, your PowerPoint will not be as easy to work with, nor will it be accessible to people using screen readers. Long story short, leave it checked!


Will this help you customize your presentations? I would love to hear from you!

Congratulations, Power Users!

Congratulations to our newest Power Users! For the full gallery, and more information about the WSU Microsoft Office Power User Program, please visit: wichita.edu/poweruser

  • Tonya Bronleewe
  • Donna Hughes

PowerPoint: Restrict Editing with a Password

You have probably password protected documents in Word or Excel. In Excel Advanced Formulas, we even talk about how you can protect individual cells from being altered, while leaving the rest open to changes. Microsoft does not make it as obvious in PowerPoint that password protection is a possibility is it does in its other programs… but you actually have several options, including the ability to restrict editing while still allowing users to view your presentation. Let’s take a look.

Password Screen

Exercise File

No Exercise File today! You can open up PowerPoint into any random template if you would like to follow along.

Be Cautious with Microsoft Passwords

The usual password disclaimer applies…

  • Be very careful applying passwords in any Microsoft program.
  • If you lose the password, neither Microsoft nor ITS can reset it for you (trust me, I have been there).
  • You may want to save an copy of your original file without a password for your personal use.

Password Protecting Documents in Word and Excel

Password protection in Word and Excel is fairly obvious; you even have a special button in the Review tab to guide you through Restrict Editing features or Protect Sheet/Workbook in the case of Excel.

Restrict editing button in Word

With both Word and Excel, there are also a variety of Protect Workbook features in backstage (File) view.

Excel: Protect Workbook dropdown

On the other hand… in PowerPoint, the protection features are absent in the Review tab, though there are a lot of the same options for encryption in backstage view as Word or Excel…

Powerpoint restrict access options, prompting users to Connect to Rights Management Servers

Encrypt with Password would require someone to have a password to open your document, but maybe you only want to restrict editing. This is where people become frustrated.

For many people, Restrict Access looks like the right place to go, but for many it directs them to Connect to Rights Management Servers, which errors out when selected. There is a better way to do this…

“Save As” Password Options

1. With your presentation open, go to File, Save As (or remember my favorite shortcut, F12).

2. In the lower right, click on Tools dropdown and select General Options.

Save as screen, tools dropdown

3. A screen will appear prompting you to either:

  • Require a password to Open, or
  • Require a password to Modify. Let’s stick with Modify for now.

4. Enter a password for Modify, and click OK. You may be prompted to reenter the password.

Password to Open or Modify Screen

5. Save and close your PowerPoint file. Open the file again, and you should be prompted to either enter a password, or open a read only version.

Prompt when opening document: enter password or open as a read only document

Your users will still be able to view and print the document, but they will not be able to make changes.

Remove the Password

Later, if you would like to remove the password:

1. Open the file, entering the password when prompted.

2. Revisit the Save As screen to find the Tools, General Options where you first set the password.

Save as screen, tools dropdown

3. Here you can remove the password you originally created and press OK

Password screen with current password and ok circled.


What do you think? Did you know about this feature in PowerPoint?

Congratulations, Power Users!

Congratulations to our newest Power Users! For the full gallery, and more information about the WSU Microsoft Office Power User Program, please visit: wichita.edu/poweruser

  • Rosemary Hedrick
Rosemary Hedrick

PowerPoint: Live Subtitles

Hold on to your hats! I am so excited to show you this amazing new PowerPoint feature in a new group called Captions and Subtitles. This life changing tool will caption your words during your presentation as you are speaking… and that is just the beginning. This tool really needed a video to showcase what it can do, so keep scrolling to check out a short video.

Subtitle settings

Live Subtitles in PowerPoint

Take a look at the video below, where I demonstrate the feature. Then there are a couple notes for you after…

How do I obtain access to this amazing wizardry?

This feature is only available for the Office 365 versions of the PC desktop application. If you are running 2016, you would need to request an upgrade (see below). Even with the 365 version, many people don’t have this feature yet, but don’t worry, it is coming soon! Here is what you can do:

  1. If you are not using Office 365, contact the Help Desk (4357) to put in a ticket to have Desktop Support update your computer.
  2. Even so, you likely will not see this feature yet, but hang tight, because you will see it soon with coming updates.
  3. When it does appear, it will live on the Slide Show tab of the ribbon.


What do you think? Is your mind buzzing with ideas? I would love to hear from you!

Congratulations, Power Users!

Congratulations to our newest Power Users! For the full gallery, and more information about the WSU Microsoft Office Power User Program, please visit: wichita.edu/poweruser

Meghan Simpson

Meghan Simpson

Word: Linking Text Between Documents

There are several options in Word for referencing a separate Word document. A feature I particularly like is called Insert Object. There is a lot you can do with the Insert Object feature, but one nice aspect is the ability to link (and sync!) text between two documents. Let’s see how this works.

Exercise Files

There are two files that will work together today:

The Welcome New Employees document contains a section that you would like to reference back to another Word document, Policy 55555. You would like for the Welcome New Employees document to update as your policy updates.

Since we will be linking these documents together, save both of these files to your desktop before going to the next step.

Insert Object

1. Open the Welcome New Employees document.

2. Place your cursor where you would like to insert the content from Policy 55555, at the end of the document.

3. Go to the Insert tab, Text group, and select the Object dropdown.

Note: if your screen is a smaller size, or the size of the Word window is reduced, you may only see an icon for the object in the ribbon.

4. Select Object from the dropdown.

5. In the tab at the top of the pop out screen select Create from File.

Create from File tab

6. Press Browse to browse for the Policy 55555 document.

Instructions 6 through 8

7. Check Link to File

8. Press OK

Inserted Text

Notice how this inserts the text with a frame around it. You cannot edit this text anywhere except in the source document, Policy 55555.

1. Double click on the frame to open the linked document in a new window.

Inserted text in a frame

2. Make a change to the source document.  Instead of Sandy, change the contact to Hannah, and the phone number to 999 9999.

3. Save the Policy document and close it to see the change take effect in the Welcome document.

Changes made to policy document

By the way, in the future you could always just open the linked Policy file, and make a change to it on its own. The change will take effect the next time you open the Welcome fileโ€ฆ you may have to close and reopen the Welcome file if it is open when you make the change this way, though.


A few more things to note:

  1. Be cautious of where you save or move your linked documents. They may need to be re-linked if you move them to new locations.
  2. Insert Object also exists in PowerPoint. Imagine the possibilities!
  3. If you choose to email the final file to people, or post it online, they will be able to see the latest linked text, but they will not be linked to the linked document (Policy in this example), nor will they be able to open the linked document. Only people who can access where the linked document is stored will be able to do that.
  4. All bets are off if you export to PDF. The text will appear, but it will no longer be linked.

In other words, think of this as a feature to use with your master documents, to ensure consistency.


Do you have a use for this nifty linked text feature? Also, like I mentioned in the introduction, this is only one aspect of the Insert Object feature. Feel free to explore and let me know how it goes!

Congratulations, Power Users!

Congratulations to our newest Power Users! For the full gallery, and more information about the WSU Microsoft Office Power User Program, please visit: wichita.edu/poweruser