Object linking – Microsoft Word linked files

This is part 1 of the examples from Object linking and embedding – Smart workflows for game developers.

Object Linking

A dynamic link is different from embedded content in that it contains a reference to the original source file, while any pasted object is only a static copy.

There are many file format that can be linked in a word document. For example: Photoshop files, Excel spreadsheets, Visio graphs or Illustrator vector graphics.

Here’s how to do it:

Microsoft Word - Insert object.
Microsoft Word – Insert object.


To create a link to one of many available data types:

  • Insert tab > Object > Create from file
  • Check Link to file

Note, that the Create New tab shows all data types, which are available to Word. Others may or may not display correctly. This list of available file formats also depends on installed third-party modules. So if you want to link an Adobe Acrobat Document, you will need to have Acrobat Pro installed, for example.

Available file formats when linking imported files.
Available file formats when linking imported files in Word.


Microsoft word - Link to file.
Microsoft word – Link to file.


Linked files are updated automatically, but in case you need to force it, right click the image and hit Update Link:

Microsoft Word - update linked file.
Microsoft Word – update linked file.


Note, that linked files are stored relatively to the word document. Keep this in mind:

Moving source files to a different locations, while the Word document is closed, will break the link. Word keeps a copy of the last state to ensure that you still have the last saved image to display.

While the Word document is open you can move source files and links will be updated and remain intact.