How to Embed a PDF File in an Excel Worksheet

Watch Video – How to Embed a PDF File in Excel

Sometimes you may have a need to embed a PDF file within the Excel workbook. This could be the case when you are creating a catalog and want to embed product specific PDFs.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to embed a PDF file in an Excel Worksheet.

How to Embed a PDF File in an Excel Worksheet

Here are the steps to embed a PDF File in Excel:

  • Go to Insert tab and click on the Object icon in the Text group. This will open the Object dialog box.Attach Embed a PDF File in an Excel Worksheet - Object Icon
  • In the Object dialog box, select the ‘Create New’ tab and the select ‘Adobe Acrobat Document’ from the list. Note that you need to have Adobe Reader installed on your system for Adobe object to appear in the list.Embed a PDF File in an Excel Worksheet - Select Adobe Object
  • Check the option – ‘Display as icon’.Embed a PDF File in an Excel Worksheet - Display as Icon
  • Click OK.
  • Select the PDF file that you want to embed and click on Open.

These steps would insert a PDF file in the worksheet.

As soon as the PDF is inserted in the worksheet, it also gets opened by default. You can close the PDF file and continue to work with Excel.

The PDF icon inserted using the above steps is an object (just like charts or shapes) and you can resize it and place it anywhere in the worksheet.

Embed a PDF File in an Excel Worksheet - PDF Embedded

To insert multiple PDFs, follow the same steps (as shown above).

Fix the Embedded PDF File to a Cell

When you embed a PDF file in Excel, it is inserted as an object that sits above the worksheet cells. The position of the icon would not change if you change the cells below it.

For example, when you place the icon within a cell, it would not move with the cells and would not get filtered, sorted, or hidden with the cells.

As shown below, if you hide the cell that has the PDF file, it doesn’t hide the PDF.

Attach Embed a PDF File in an Excel Worksheet - Hide

To make sure it sticks to the cell:

  • Insert the file icon within the cell. If it doesn’t fit, either resize the icon or the cell so that the icon is within the cell.
  • Right-click on the icon and select Format Object. (If you have multiple PDF files embedded, you can select all and then right-click and select the Format Object option.)Embed a PDF File in an Excel Worksheet - Format Object
  • In the Format Object dialog box, select Properties tab and select the option ‘Move and size with cells’Embed a PDF File in an Excel Worksheet - Move and Size with Cells
  • Click OK.

Now when you filter or sort/filter the cells, or hide the rows, the PDF object will do the same.

Renaming the Embedded PDF File

When you embed a PDF file in Excel, it gets a generic name such as “Adobe Acrobat Document”.

You can change this name by following the below steps:

  • Right-click on the PDF object and select Convert option in the Acrobat Document Object. Embed a PDF File in an Excel Worksheet - Convert
  • In the Convert dialog box, click on the Change Icon button.Embed a PDF File in an Excel Worksheet - Change Icon
  • In the Change Icon dialog box, change the caption to the name you want for the embedded PDF document.Embed a PDF File in an Excel Worksheet - change name
  • Click OK.

This will change the name of the embedded PDF file.

Want to convert PDF files to Excel? Check out my tutorial where I show the exact steps to convert PDF files to Excel.

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  • Aleks says:

    When I protect the excel sheet I can not open the embedded pdf anymore. Is it possible to alow just so others can open it and not delete it. The only way to open it on the protected sheet is to alow editing of objects.. Thank you for your time.

  • ARISTATIL says:

    need to learn excel

  • Sandeep Bhargava says:

    If I mail such PDF enabled excel file to some one can the recipient will able to open the PDF

  • Stephan says:

    Naming Part didn’t work for me. When I clicked convert, no options in that first menu that your image shows “Adobe Acrobat 7.0 Document” mine is blank. I can click the icon that says display as icon, and add a caption but it doesn’t appear to save, nor does it change the name of the embedded PDF file. Thoughts?

  • Ynwa says:

    Thank you. This helped so much.

  • Marie-Eleonore says:

    Very fruitful, clear and concise breakdown of steps to follow. Thanks a million as now I can forward my excel accounts spreadsheet of breakdowns with the corresponding scanned receipts / invoices. Keeps the auditors happy on our end. No more exchange of hard copies (files) required.

  • Gary Leon says:

    Valuable information. Thanks for the sharing. For someone who want to convert PDF to Excel for editing, I’d recommend Acethinker PDF Converter Lite, free and works fairly well for me.

  • Solomon Raj says:

    Thank you so much, I was struck in the work, This website helped me a lot.

  • LH says:

    Very helpful. Thank you.

  • LJ says:

    That was exactly what I was hoping to learn and will help me so much at work. Very helpful video and nice, clear instructions. Thank you!!!

  • Essie says:

    Thank you
    Very clear step by step instructions

  • Jenny says:

    1. my excel don’t have the convert n activate as ?? 2. the object only have words doc . , how do i add on pdf doc ? please help . thank you

  • Ramesh Y says:

    can we done this process in macro

  • surya says:


  • Abhay says:

    Hi is there a way to save the embedded file to the excel sheet so that we can open those files in any computer systems. ??

  • Gayan Kothalawala says:

    it is very important sumit

  • Venkatesh C says:

    I am using the below formula for getting indian rupees

    =CHOOSE(IF(VALUE(RIGHT(ROUNDDOWN(D97/100000,0),2))>9,IF(LEFT(RIGHT(ROUNDDOWN(D97/100000,0),2),1)=”1″,VALUE(RIGHT(ROUNDDOWN(D97/100000,0),1))+2,VALUE(LEFT(RIGHT(ROUNDDOWN(D97/100000,0),2),1))+10),1),””,”Ten”,”Eleven”,”Twelve”,”Thirteen”,”Fourteen”,”Fifteen”,”Sixteen”,”Seventeen”,”Eighteen”,”Ninteen”,”Twenty”,”Thirty”,”Forty”,”Fifty”,”Sixty”,”Seventy”,”Eighty”,”Ninety”)&CHOOSE(IF(AND(VALUE(RIGHT(ROUNDDOWN(D97/100000,0),2))10),1,VALUE(RIGHT(ROUNDDOWN(D97/100000,0),1))+1),””,” One”,” Two”,” Three”,” Four”,” Five”,” Six”,” Seven”,” Eight”,” Nine”)& IF(VALUE(RIGHT(ROUNDDOWN(D97/100000,0),2))>0,” Lac “,””)

    Now i would like change it into Millions and thousands .

    Kindly let me know if possible…

    Thank you


  • Thanks for commenting.. Glad you liked it 🙂

  • robert smart says:

    Is there a reason to imbed an icon rather that just have a hyperlink to the file?

    • Hello Robert.. With icon, the PDF becomes a part of the Excel, while in case of hyperlink of a PDF that is stored on your system, the link may not work if you share the file with someone.

  • Richard Snider says:

    Is there a way to do this in Excel for Mac 2011?

    • Hello Richard.. I am sure there is a way. Sorry I don’t have a Mac to test it.

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