Read an Excerpt
Chapter 15.|Inserting Objects for Multimedia and More
- Create It Once, Use It Again
- Linking vs. Embedding: A Comparison
- Good Candidates for Linking and Embedding
- Linking Objects
- Inserting a Linked Object
- Adding Linked Objects with Paste Special
- Changing Linked Objects
- Working with Links
- Linking Considerations for Shared Files
- Embedding Objects
- Pasting Data as an Embedded Object
- Creating an Embedded Object
- Adding an Existing Object
- Editing an Embedded Object
- Converting Embedded Objects to Other Formats
Chapter 15 Inserting Objects for Multimedia and More
Text is text is text, but Microsoft Word offers much more than simple text management and enhancement techniques. Your Word documents can literally sing, if you choose to add audio clips or voice-overs. They can tell a story, if you choose to add a video segment. Your Web pages can teach, if you want to add a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation to the page you create in Word.
Word makes it easy to both link and embed files (which are called objects for this operation). That means you can work with files you create in other programs, whether they’re Microsoft Office applications or not. This chapter gets you up to speed on incorporating objects in your documents, whether you want to add multimedia effects or something more sedate, like a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet or a bit of Microsoft Access data.
What kinds of things might you want to link? You’ve got all sorts of choices: a sound file, a table, a video clip, an equation, data tables, images, a presentation file, or another Word document.
One of the great things about using a multi-application suite like Office is the way you can reuse what you create. You can open your Excel spreadsheet in your sales report. You can attach an organization chart to the announcement of the new spring promotions. You can add a voice-over segment to a section of a speech you’re testing out with your coworkers. You can use these different items in your Word document by importing them as objects.
Although you can copy and paste these items into a document, keeping the data current can be a problem if your information changes often. If you paste a segment of your Excel worksheet in your document, and then the original worksheet changes, your document will be out of date. To resolve this so that you can create these multidimensional documents and still keep your documents current, you can link the objects to their original files using object linking and embedding (OLE) and Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE).
You can import objects from programs outside the Office applications. As long as the program supports OLE and DDE, you can link and edit that program’s objects.
Linking and embedding a file might seem like the same process at first. In fact, they are two very different processes, each providing a different function:
- Linking a file establishes a link between the original (source) file and the file to which you copied the data (destination). Whenever you change the information in the source file, the destination file is updated.
- Embedding a file places an intact copy of the source in the destination file. Although changing the source doesn’t affect the destination file, you can edit the object in the destination file by double-clicking it. You can then edit the object without quitting Word.
TIP: Cut to the Chase
The biggest difference between linking and embedding is the file in which the data is stored (source or destination) and how it’s updated (at the source, or originating program, or in the destination document).
Linking an object is a good choice when you need to keep data in your documents up to date. Here are a few examples:
- You’re creating a draft of a report that includes slides from a PowerPoint presentation that’s not yet finished. If the document is linked to the presentation file, when you finish the presentation, the document will reflect the changes.
- You have a new logo design for your business, and you’re trying it out on letterhead. If you maintain the link to the draw file in which the logo is stored, when you change the logo, the letterhead will reflect the changes.
- You have a sales report due this afternoon, but not all the numbers are in from your regional sales staff. If you import the part of the Excel spreadsheet that’s ready and establish a link when you update the information later, the file will reflect the changes.
Embedding objects is a good idea when you don’t need to maintain a link but want to edit the object in your document. Here are some examples of embedding:
- You want to send a snapshot of current Excel data to a coworker, but the information is likely to change.
- You want to add a finished spreadsheet object. You don’t need to maintain the link, but you might want to change the format or values later.
- You’ve added an organization chart, but when you send the document to different audiences, you need to change the roles that are displayed.
Linking an object to a file establishes a one-way link to the source document. When you change the information in the sourcefor example, when you change the name of a product in the PowerPoint presentation you’ve importedthe same change is reflected in the document to which you’ve linked the information.
TIP: Link for Small File Size
When you want to keep your files small, linking is your best bet. Because linked files store only a pointer to the source file, the destination file size increases only a little. Although these types of links introduce other potential problems (such as broken links to deleted or moved source files), they give you the flexibility you might need when size is a consideration.
Word provides two different ways for you to bring linked objects into your documents. You can use the Insert Object dialog box to place an existing object in your document, and you can use the Paste Special command to use the basic copy-and-paste procedure to establish and maintain a link with the source file.
Suppose you have a great new banner ad design that you want to incorporate in the document you’re preparing for a client. Although the banner ad isn’t quite finished, you want to show the client how the ideas are developing in the presentation. You decide to add the entire presentation to your document as a link in the report.
To insert the object and create a link to the source file, follow these steps:
- Place the insertion point where you want to include the object.
- Choose Insert, Object. The Object dialog box appears.
- Click the Create From File tab. (See Figure 151.) Here you can enter the name for the file you want to insert and choose whether to link or embed the file.
- Click Browse. The Browse dialog box is displayed. Navigate to the folder in which the file you want to link is stored, select the file, and click Insert. You are returned to the Object dialog box.
- Select the Link To File check box. This tells Word to establish the link to the source.
- Click OK. The object is inserted, as Figure 152 shows.
Figure 151. The Object dialog box gives you the means to link or embed objects. (Image unavailable)
Figure 152. The object is placed at the insertion point. (Image unavailable)
TIP: Run a Presentation
If your linked object is a PowerPoint presentation, run the presentation by double-clicking it. You won’t be able to edit the presentation, however, without opening the source file.
The Linked Object Is Missing
So after you go through the steps to insert a linked object, it starts to appear in your file and thennothing. Just an outline, no object. What’s going on?
If you have enabled Picture Placeholders in the Options dialog box, Word is saving memory and screen update time by showing only the outline of the object. You can fix this by choosing Tools, Options and clearing the Picture Placeholders check box on the View tab.
TIP: Create Objects with Create New
The process of embedding uses the Create New tab in the Object dialog box. Embedding an object enables you to include in your document objects you have created in other programs, and it also lets you actually create the objects from scratch while you are working with Word. When you use the items in the Create New tab to create an embedded object, Word launches the program you used to create the object; and then after you save and close the other program, you are returned to Word, and the object is embedded in your current document.
Another way to add a linked object in your document is to use Paste Special. This command (available from the Edit menu) copies and pastes not only the data but also a link to the source file. Start in the Word document to which you want to add the linked object, and then follow these steps:
- Position the insertion point where you want to add the object.
- Launch the program in which you have created the object to be linked. Select the section or object, and copy the item to the Clipboard.
- Return to Word, and choose Edit, Paste Special. The Paste Special dialog box appears. (For an example of the Paste Special dialog box, see Figure 155, on page 226.)
- Click the Paste Link option, select the object type in the As list box, and click OK. Word adds the data and the link to your document. NOTE: The Paste Link option is available only for objects you’ve created in programs that support linking.
When you want to review the links in your current document, choose Edit, Links to display the Links dialog box.
Any editing you do on a linked object actually takes place in the source file. You can edit a linked object in several different ways:
- You can double-click the object to launch the source program.
- You can click the object, choose Edit, Linked Object, and click Edit Link.
- You can right-click the object to display the shortcut menu. You can then click Linked Object and select Edit Link. (See Figure 153.) This takes you to the source file so that you can make changes as needed.
Figure 153. You can modify a linked object and update the changes. (Image unavailable)
To modify the source object directly, make your changes in the originating program. Save and close the object as you would normally.
When you return to the linked document, select the linked object and choose Edit, Update Link (or press F9). Depending on how you’ve set up your options for updates, the destination file might be updated as soon as you return to it or it might be delayed until you manually choose an update.
For more information on controlling the update of linked objects, see the section "Updating Links" on page 222.
The only tricky part to working with linked objects in your documents is that managing a variety of links can be confusing and a drain on your system’s resources. For this reason, Word pulls link management together in one placethe Links dialog box. To display this box, choose Edit, Links. (See Figure 154, on the next page.)
Figure 154. The Links dialog box gives you the means to review, change, update, and remove links to objects you’ve inserted in your document. (Image unavailable)
In the Source File section of the Links dialog box, you see a list of the currently active links in your document. You can scroll through the list to determine the following:
- The source file for the object
- The type of object that’s linked
- The type of update assigned to the object
Using the various options in the Links dialog box, you can change the update method of the link, check the source file, modify the location of the source file, and review information about the link. You can also lock the link or break it to protect the destination document from any further changes.
TIP: Update Now
It’s possible for you to have some links in the Source File list in the Links dialog box that show Auto updates and others that show Manual updates. You can force the update of a Manual link by selecting it in the Source File list and clicking Update Now.
By default, Word updates any links in your document. Each time you open the file, Word checks whether any links have changeda process that can take a few minutes if you’ve added many links to your current document. Similarly, when you make a change to the source file and the destination file happens to be open, Word updates the destination file if you’ve got the updating options set to update automatically.
Manually Updating Links
Word gives you the option of updating links automatically or manually. Automatic is niceyou don’t have to worry about itunless sharing files is an issue and you want to limit others’ ability to change or modify the linked document by editing the source. When you want to set a link in your document to be manually updated, follow these steps:
- Choose Edit, Links. The Links dialog box appears.
- Select the linked object in the Source File list.
- In the Update Method For Selected Link section, click the Manual Update option.
- Click OK. The object will be updated only when you choose Update Link from the Edit menu or press F9.
Locking a Link
When you get an object just the way you want ityour PowerPoint presentation is finished, for example, or that logo has finally been approvedyou can protect the destination from further changes by locking the link. When you lock a link, it will no longer be updated, even if the source file is modified.
To lock a link, display the Links dialog box, select the linked object in the Source File list, and select the Locked check box in the Update Method For Selected Link section. You can unlock a link later if you choose by repeating the first two steps and clearing the Locked check box.
My Changes Are Lost
If Word crashes and then AutoRecover restores your document, you might find that your linked object has lost its most recent changes and is appearing as an outline instead of a fully displayed object. To fix these problems, save the document, click the object, and choose Tools, Options. Clear the Picture Placeholders check box on the View tab, and click OK to close the dialog box. Then, with the object still selected, press F9 to force a manual update. Word compares the object against the source file and updates any missing changes.
Going to the Source
When you want to look at the source file for your document, you can use the Open Source button in the Links dialog box to get to it. Simply select the link in the Source File list and click Open Source. The source program is opened and the file is displayed.
TIP: Edit Your Slide Show
If your source’s native application is PowerPoint, Open Source will run a slide show rather than displaying editing mode for the presentation. To launch PowerPoint so that you can make changes in the file, right-click the object in your Word document and choose either Edit Link or Open Link. The PowerPoint work area will be displayed with the first slide shown in Slide view.
Changing the Source
When you want to move a source file, the linked document needs to know a move has taken place. To tell Word the source has moved, choose Edit, Links and, with the link selected, click Change Source in the Links dialog box. The Change Source dialog box appears. Navigate to the folder where the source file is now located, click the file, and click Open. Click OK to close the Links dialog box.
After you have a file in its finished state, you might want to break a link to keep the object from future modifications. To break the link of a selected object, follow these steps:
- Display the Links dialog box by choosing Edit, Links.
- In the Source File list, select the link you want to break.
- Click Break Link. Word displays a message box asking you to confirm that you want to proceed with the operation.
- Click Yes to break the link. The link is removed from the list, although the object remains in your document. Any further changes to the source file will not affect your document.
- Click Close to close the Links dialog box.
If you want to reestablish the link you just broke, you can press Ctrl+Z or select Undo to reestablish the link.
As you can see, managing the links for your documents could be a fairly complicated process, especially if you create a number of links to each document and choose to have some updated automatically and others updated manually. Reviewing your links regularly, as well as keeping a list of active links for current files, is a way to ensure that an important source file doesn’t disappear 15 minutes before a major meeting.
If your document is linked to a source file on a network server, you run the risk that the document might be changed, moved, or deleted by another user. Although Word looks for the missing file, there’s no guarantee it will find it. Make sure that you keep active backups of important files and that you review your links often.
Another network consideration: If your source file is stored in a shared directory, it’s possible that another user can access your file and make a change without your knowledge. This is fine if the change makes things better, but what if the change introduces an error you miss? To control the access to the file, you can choose to manually update the link when you add the linked object.
The Source File Has Moved
If you get an error when you try to edit a linked or embedded object, check to see whether the source file has been moved. To do this, click the linked object, choose Edit, Links. Use the Change Source button in the Links dialog box to reconnect the links.
Embedding objects, by contrast to linking objects, is a pretty straightforward process. There are no links to worry about or maintain. You simply place an object in the document and there it stays. Pretty clean and simple.
The downside of embedded objects is the size of the file they create. When you add a PowerPoint presentation to your destination document, for example, your Word file takes on the weight of the additional file. With a linked file, only the link to the source file is actually stored in the document.
You also have an additional choice with embedded objects that you didn’t have with linked objects: You can create a new embedded object on the fly. That is, you can create a new object while you’re working in your Word document. This section explores ways to embed data sections, create new embedded objects, edit your objects, and convert them to other file formats.
When you want to embed a portion of a file, you can use Paste Special to import the information, keeping the formatting intact. Here are the steps for embedding a section of data:
- In the source program, open the data file from which you want to copy data.
- Select the data, and copy it to the Clipboard.
- Open your destination document, and place the insertion point where you want to add the data.
- Choose Edit, Paste Special. The Paste Special dialog box appears, as Figure 155 shows.
Figure 155. The Paste Special dialog box enables you to both link and embed data. (Image unavailable)
What kind of object would you like to add as you’re working on your Word document? Word enables you to create embedded objects as you work in Word, using programs such as Microsoft Equation 3.0, PowerPoint, Paintbrush, and RealNetworks’ RealPlayer. You also can add data from Excel, a slide from PowerPoint, a wave (sound) file from Microsoft Sound Recorder, a video segment from Media Clip, or any number of other programs you might have installed on your system.
To create an embedded object in Word, follow these steps:
- Start in the document to which you want to add the embedded object.
- Place the insertion point where you want to add the object.
- Choose Insert, Object. The Insert Object dialog box appears, with the Create New tab selected, as Figure 156 shows.
- Scroll through the Object Type list, and select the one you want.
- If you want to have the embedded object displayed as an icon instead of a file, select the Display As Icon check box.
- Click OK to close the dialog box and launch the program. Figure 157, on the next page, shows the screen that appears when Microsoft PowerPoint Slide is selected.
- In the source program, choose File and select the command that enables you to close the program and return to Word. The program is closed, and you are returned to the destination document. If you chose to display the object as an icon, the icon is displayed at the insertion point. If you chose to clear the Display As Icon check box, the file is displayed in full.
Figure 156. You can create an embedded object from within your Word document. (Image unavailable)
Depending on the program you’re using to create the embedded object, the menus you see might differ from those you see here. Different programs offer different levels of support for object linking and embedding. If you need help with the program you’re using to create the embedded object, consult that program’s help system or your program documentation.
TIP: Change the Icon
If you elect to display the embedded object as an icon, a Change Icon button appears in the Insert Object dialog box that changes the icon used in your document. To see the list of displayed icons, click the Change Icon button, and scroll through the list to see the available icons. Click Browse if necessary, and select the file you want. Click in the Caption box, add a caption and click OK to accept the change.
Figure 157. Creating an embedded object in Word involves working in the source program. (Image unavailable)
Adding a file or data section to your document as an embedded object allows you to keep all the data in one place, which makes your file portable. The benefit of embedding a file as opposed to copying it in your document is that you can edit an embedded objectin its originating programfrom within your Word document.
To add an existing object to your Word document, follow these steps:
- Place the insertion point where you want to add the embedded object.
- Choose Insert, Object.
- Click the Create From File tab. (See Figure 158.) Click Browse, select the file you want to embed, and click Insert.
- If you want the embedded object to appear as an icon, select the Display As Icon check box.
- Click OK to add the object.
The process for embedding an object is only one step removed from adding a linked object: In the Create From file tab, you don’t select the Link To File check box. By leaving this check box unselected, you tell Word that the file is to be incorporated as an embedded object in the current document.
Figure 158. Use the Create From File tab in the Insert Object dialog box to embed an existing file. (Image unavailable)
You edit an embedded object by double-clicking itwhether the object is a section of a file or an entire embedded file. Double-clicking opens the program in which the file was created. You can make your changes as needed and choose File, Close And Return To Microsoft Word to accept the changes in your document.
I Can’t Edit an Embedded Object
You double-click an object to edit it, and nothing happens. What’s going on? These are the possibilities:
- Make sure the source program is still installed. If it’s not, install it or convert the embedded object to a file format you can use.
- Make sure that you’re not running low on system memory. If that appears to be the problem, close all other programs to free up space.
- If you’re working with a linked object on a network, make sure that no one else has the source file open at the same time.
- Make sure that the source file hasn’t been moved or renamed. Check this by clicking the object and choosing Edit, Links.
Converting Embedded Objects to Other Formats
Your embedded file has all the data it needs in order to be complete. But what happens when you copy the file to a disk and take it to another computer that doesn’t have the source file? You could install the source programif you have it handy. If not, another option is to convert the embedded object to a file format you can use.
To convert an embedded object, follow these steps:
- Right-click the embedded object.
- On the shortcut menu, choose Object, Convert. The Convert dialog box appears, as Figure 159 shows.
- Choose the file format to which you want to convert the embedded file, and click OK. The file is converted as you selected.
Figure 159. Converting an embedded object enables you to save it in another file format. (Image unavailable)
Use Activate As if you want to open an object as the type you select in the Object dialog box and then allow it to return to its natural object type when you close it.