Dr. Mark C Gardener

Open University Associate Lecturer: S216 Environmental Science

Mark's OU Students page
Gardeners Own Home

TMA01 – a coherent document!

For TMA01 you are asked to prepare a coherent document. This means essentially that we want everything in one document... except the spreadsheet. The spreadsheet will contain the data and your calculations, including the summary of means and charts. These charts and summary tables should be copied to the appropriate place in the Word document.

This mimics what happens when you write a scientific report or paper. All the information required should be in one place; any additional stuff goes in an appendix or is presented in a separate file (sometimes you see papers that give a link to online supplements).

This document is intended to give you some IT guidelines to help you prepare your TMA and hopefully you'll gain some useful skills into the bargain.

Spreadsheet cells

You are asked to undertake some calculations using the spreadsheet; your tutor (me) wants to see the spreadsheet to see how you carried out the calculations. You'll be asked to compute mean values, do this in the spreadsheet but also make a table of these means in the main TMA document. The simplest way is to copy the spreadsheet cells from Excel to Word.

Spreadsheet Cells ready for transfer

You want to make your spreadsheet table of results in a block so you can copy them easily. Highlight the cells and copy to the clipboard (Ctrl+C, or Home > Copy button). Then navigate to Word. You want to insert the cells as a table so make space by adding some blank lines (you can delete extra lines later). Then click where you want to place the table. Do not simply use Paste. In Office 2010 use the Home > Paste button and you'll see several options.

The Paste button gives options for pasting

The first two will make a neat table (the second option adds borders)

Spreadsheet cells pasted as a Word table object

If you simply use Paste you will create a link to the original spreadsheet and this makes the file larger. It also makes it hard for your tutor to edit! An alternative is to use Paste Special option; this is what you might see on other word processors or earlier versions of Excel. If so you need to use the RTF format option.

Paste Special using RTF creates table objects from spreadsheet cells

Once your table is made in Word you can edit it as required. There is no need to do anything except basic formatting though.

Copying Graphs

I won't talk about creating graphs because I already provided links to some Excel Tips. However, transferring Excel charts to Word is a useful skill to acquire. Once you have your chart you need a way to move it to Word. Office does not let you save charts in a format that is sensible so you need to use Copy and Paste. So, copy your chart to the clipboard.

Copy a spreadsheet graph to the clipboard

Then navigate to Word and select a place for it. Do not use regular Paste but select the “Picture” option.

Office 2010 allows you to paste a spreadsheet chart as a picture

If you are using a different word processor you may simply get the Paste Special option, use that and select a picture format. This “fixes” your picture. If you don’t do this Office will form a link to the spreadsheet and actually embed it along with the picture. This makes the file larger and can cause issues with the display on your tutors computer.

Floating objects

Pictures can sometimes end up floating over the text. At the time you write your TMA this does not seem like a problem. However, once your tutor starts to add comments and notes the text may shift about and your picture can end up in an awkward spot. You need to “fix” the wrapping of the object (the picture). Click on it and you should see the Picture Tools menu, click the Wrap Text button.

Set objects to In Line so that their position is fixed relative to the text

You can also get this menu by right-clicking the picture. In Open Office there is a different sounding range of options. You want to right-click the picture and select Anchor > As Character.

Wrapping options

You can set Word to always insert pictures as In Line wrapped... go to File > Options > Advanced and then in the Cut Copy & Paste section you’ll see the option. In Open Office you can’t set the default so need to right-click each object as it is inserted.


Your TMA01 should contain everything you want to score marks for, the only time your tutor should need to look at anything else is when they go to the spreadsheet to look at how you did your calculations. So in your main Word document include:

  • Answers to all the sections

  • Tables of mean values for the soil samples

  • Graphs you are requested to produce

The spreadsheet will contain the data and your calculations, including the summary of means and charts. These charts and summary tables should be copied to the appropriate place in the Word document.

Good luck!


blogger counter

Mark's OU Students page
Tips & Tricks for Excel Gardeners Own Home