This is an important safety precaution for anyone who uses Excel graphs in PowerPoint. Many make this particular mistake, including some individuals at the large Wall Street investment banks (I know), and it can cost you a model worth up to tens of thousands of dollars or worse, your negotiating position and credibility.

The Scenario: You have a spreadsheet that models your startup (project, business, proposal, etc.). You have graphs such as forecasted revenue streams or equity value calculations. You now want to show these graphs in your presentation.

If you ever want to copy a graph into Powerpoint, don’t copy and paste it. If you do, your entire Excel spreadsheet may be accessible to a viewer (who right-clicks on the graph and selects ‘Edit Data’).

If you see this, your spreadsheet is connected to your presentation.

To make sure your spreadsheets are safe:

  1. Copy the graph in Excel.
  2. In PowerPoint, go to ‘Paste Special’ (keyboard shortcut Alt H/V/S in Excel ’07) and select any picture type other than ‘Microsoft Office Graphic Object’ (i.e. JPEG, GIF, BMP, Metafile, etc.).

These steps will keep you safe nomatter what, and will ensure your graph is untraceable to your source model. Happy programming.

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