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Chapter 23. Linking to Other Applications > Knowing When to Link or Embed

Knowing When to Link or Embed

The choice to link or to embed is a matter of personal choice with factors to consider such as file location, file size, frequency of changes, life cycle of the documents, available disk space, confidentiality, and others. Table 23.2 lists several of these considerations and the advantages and disadvantages of each approach.

Table 23.2. Advantages and Disadvantages of Using OLE
FactorLinking ConsiderationsEmbedding Considerations
Location of File sizeIf files are going to move to other locations, such as other drives, across networks, or outside computers, both files must be moved. Additionally, links are very path-specific, and unless the links were established with both files in the same directory, it can be tedious to reestablish unfound links.Embedded files travel inside the container file and travel with the container file.
File sizeFile sizes are counted only once on the hard drive. That means they only occupy space on the hard drive once.Embedding adds the entire file into the container file. In essence, this can double the file size and can fill up small hard disks quickly.
Frequency of changesIf data is likely to change near the time of presenting, links update automatically.If someone else is doing many "what if" scenarios with a spreadsheet, you may be better off embedding and protecting your presentation from these changes.
Life cycle of documentsIf a source changes periodically but is essentially the same document, just the data changes; linking eliminates re-keying.If the source is likely to change before you want to present the old results, you are better off to embed and protect yourself from the unwanted changes.
Available disk spaceLinking only counts file sizes once.Embedding embeds a complete copy of the source file and can fill small hard disks quickly, especially if a file is embedded in more than one presentation.



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