How to Insert PDF into Excel.

A graphic showing PDF and Excel files linking

There are many reasons you might want to find out how to attach a PDF in Excel. Doing so may allow you to organise your files in the way you like or help you to align data with relevant imagery. It can also be useful if you need to embed an invoice within a spreadsheet. Whatever your goal, we’ll guide you through the process step by step.

What you’ll learn

How to embed a PDF in Excel.

Here’s the quick guide on how to insert a PDF file in Excel.

The list below is a brief look at how you can insert a PDF into Excel.

  1. Open the Excel document you wish to use and go to Insert > Object.
  2. Add your PDF. Go to Create > Browse to find the PDF of your choice.
  3. Tick the boxes Link to file and Display as icon.
  4. Right-click on the PDF and choose Format Object, then click OK.
  5. Embed the file. Select Properties and Move and size within cells.

How to attach a PDF in Excel.

Now we’ll go into the process in depth. Before doing anything, ensure you close the PDF file. Then, open the Excel document you wish to use.

Displaying PDF as an entire page within Excel.

  1. Go to Insert > Object.

Image of insert function

Image of object fucntion

  1. A window will pop up after which you should go to Create from file > Browse, you can then locate the PDF file you wish to use.Image of create from fileImage of selected file

PDF to appear as an icon within the spreadsheet.

  1. Follow the previous steps on how to select a file. This time select Display as Icon too, before clicking OK.Image of display as icon
  2. Select the Link to file option if you wish to have real-time connectivity between the two files. In other words, if you update the PDF, it will also update within the spreadsheet too.Image of link to file
  3. Both options can be ticked at the same time. Only tick Display as Icon if you’re not bothered about having real-time connectivity.

Limiting icon to one cell.

  1. Right click the icon > select Format object > Properties > Move and size with cells.

Image of format objectImage of move and size with cells

Image of move but don’t size with cells

  1. Within this window, you can change the alt text, size and colour. Once done, click OK.

Advantages of inserting a PDF into Excel.

Frequently asked questions.

Why won’t Excel let me embed a file?

The display of an error message when trying to embed a PDF in Excel means that the file is in ‘protected mode’. This is a safeguard put on PDFs to help stop the file from becoming corrupt. This makes it difficult to insert a PDF into Excel.

How do I know if my PDF is unlocked?

If you’re wanting to check if there are any restrictions on the file, go to File > Properties > Security. This way you can check if there are any restrictions before attempting to attach a PDF in Excel.

How can I bypass a PDF lock?

Open PDF and go to Tools > Protect > Encrypt > Remove Security. Please note this isn’t possible in all instances. If someone within your organisation has higher-level access, you’ll need to ask them to grant permission.