Maintaining Destination Formatting on a Linked Excel Table

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 26, 2020)

Kat has an Excel table in her Word document, pasted as "linked with destination formatting." She wants to control the formatting and borders within Word. If she sets the formatting of the borders and later uses F9 to update the linked data in the table, the borders revert to a simple grid. These borders do not match the borders drawn in Excel or the borders that Kat set in Word. She wonders if there is a way to make Word maintain the borders as she formatted them whenever she updates the data.

The behavior that Kat describes seems to be the way that Word works when you update linked Excel data. If you manually format the linked data, all your formatting is stripped when you update the data.

There is one way around the problem—use table styles. From testing, these do not seem to be removed during the update. You can find these styles by placing the insertion point inside the linked data (in your Word document) and then displaying the Table Design tab of the ribbon. You can use one of the pre-defined table styles, or you can create your own. (Right-click in the existing styles and choose New Table Style from the resulting Context menu.)

Once you've applied the table style (or created a new one and applied that), you can update your table and the formatting should remain as specified in the style.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13815) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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