How to embed a PDF file in Excel

Updated February 21, 2017

Microsoft Excel is a popular spreadsheet tool. Likewise, Adobe's Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF) is a popular document exchange tool. Embedding a PDF in Excel allows you access to the PDF without a hyperlink to another location for easy accessibility or as part of a complete presentation. According to Microsoft Office online, an embedded object is contained in a source file and inserted into a destination file, becoming part of the destination file. Any changes made to the original file will be reflected in the version that is embedded in your Excel document.

Select the cell in your Excel spreadsheet where you wish to embed a PDF. The PDF file will take up more than just one cell; select the cell you want the top left-hand corner of the file to appear. Click on the "Insert Object" button in the Text group under the Insert tab. Highlight "Adobe Acrobat Document" under Object type in the Object pop-up window .

Decide how you want your PDF to appear in your Excel document. If you want the PDF to appear as the first page of the PDF, simply click the OK button. If you want the PDF to appear as an icon, click the check mark labeled "Display as Icon" and choose an icon using the "Change Icon..." button or click "OK" to accept the default Adobe Acrobat Document icon.

Navigate to the PDF you wish to embed in your Excel workbook in the Windows Explorer pop-up window. Double-click on the PDF file or click the "Open" button after highlighting the PDF file to embed it in your Excel workbook.

Double-click on your embedded PDF or representative icon in Excel to access your embedded file.


The embedded PDF can be resized to your liking by clicking and dragging the sides and corners of the file.

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About the Author

Peter Franczyk has been writing professionally since 2001 and has been published in multiple peer-reviewed biotechnology journals such as "Transfusion." He holds a Bachelor of Science in engineering from a land-grant university and a Master of Science in the life sciences from a leading research university.