How to embed a PDF in an Excel file

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Matthew M. White
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In many cases, Excel spreadsheets are used to organize financial information into a logical format. And often, the source data used to populate a spreadsheet comes from PDF files of financial statements and invoices.

If you want to make your spreadsheet information more complete, you can embed the PDF source file. In this article, we will see how to embed a PDF into your Excel spreadsheet. Plus, you'll learn how to link the PDF to the original file so that any updates made to the original are reflected in the embedded copy.



How to Embed a PDF in Excel on a Mac

Follow these steps to embed your PDF file into an Excel spreadsheet via macOS:

  1. Open "Excel" and the workbook you want to add the PDF to.
  2. On the ribbon, select the "Insert" tab.
  3. Select “Text”, then “Object”.
  4. Click the "Create from File" tab, then "Browse" to find your PDF.
  5. Select the PDF you want to embed, then "OK".
  6. In the "Object" window, to display the PDF as an icon instead of displaying the file, check the "Display as icon" box.
  7. If you want to link to the source PDF file (so that changes made to it are reflected in the embedded PDF), check the "Link to file" box.
  8. Click "OK" to apply the changes.
    By default, the icon will display above your Excel cells. It won't automatically adapt to your column layout, to change that:
  9. Right-click on the PDF and select “Format Object…”.
  10. Select the "Properties" tab and check the "Move and size with cells" option. This will allow the icon to stretch if you move or lengthen the cells.
  11. Select "OK" to apply the changes.

How to Embed PDF in Excel on Windows PC

To embed a PDF in your Excel spreadsheet on Windows 10, follow these steps:



  1. Launch “Excel” then the spreadsheet in which you wish to work.
  2. Via the ribbon, select the "Insert" tab.
  3. Click on “Text”, then on “Object”.
  4. Choose the "Create from file" tab, then "Browse" to find your file.
  5. Select the PDF, then “Insert”.
  6. In the "Object" window, if you prefer the file to be displayed as an icon rather than a preview, check the "Display as icon" option.
  7. To create a link to the original PDF, so that changes made to it are replicated in the embedded file, check the "Link to file" box.
  8. Click "OK" to save the changes.

    The icon will automatically appear above the cells in the spreadsheet. Do the following to automatically adapt the file to the column layout:
  9. Right-click on it, then choose “Format Object…”
  10. Click on the "Properties" tab and select the "Move and size with cells" option. The icon will now stretch if you change the cell size.
  11. Click "OK" to save the changes.

How to Embed a PDF in Excel on an iPad

Excel has an iOS app that provides desktop functionality. Follow these steps to embed your PDF file into a spreadsheet:

  1. Open the "Excel" application, then the spreadsheet in which you want to embed the PDF file.
  2. In the ribbon, select the "Insert" tab.
  3. Tap the "Text" options, then "Subject."
  4. Click on the “Create from file” tab, then select “Browse”.
  5. Choose the location of the file, for example "iCloud", select the PDF, then "Open".
  6. In the "Object" window, check the "Display as icon" box to display the file as an icon. Otherwise, a preview of the PDF will be displayed.
  7. To link to the original PDF file, so that changes made to the original are updated in the embedded file, select the "Link to File" option.
  8. Press "OK" to apply the changes.
    The file icon will appear above the cells by default. Do the following to have the icon automatically adjust if you change the cell size:
  9. Long-press the PDF file, then choose "Format Object...".
  10. Press the “Properties” tab and select the “Move and size with cells” option.
  11. Press “OK”.

How to Embed a PDF in Excel on an iPhone

Follow these steps to embed a PDF file into your spreadsheet via the Excel app for iOS:



  1. Open the “Excel” application.
  2. Open the spreadsheet where you want to embed the PDF file.
  3. Via the ribbon, press the "Insert" tab.
  4. Tap "Text" and then "Subject."
  5. Choose the “Create from file” tab, then “Browse”.
  6. Choose the location of the file, for example, “Dropbox”.
  7. Select the PDF, then “Open”.
  8. From the “Object” window, to display the file as an icon, check the “Display as icon” box; otherwise, a preview of the PDF will be displayed.
  9. If you want changes made to the original PDF to be updated in the embedded version, choose the "Link to file" option.
  10. Press “OK” to save changes.
    The icon will display above the cells by default. For an automatic adjustment that adapts if you change the size of the columns, do the following:
  11. Long-press the PDF, then select “Format Object…”.
  12. Choose the "Properties" tab and select the "Move and size with cells" option.
  13. Press “OK”.

How to Embed PDF in Excel on Android Device

Follow these steps through the Excel app for Android to embed a PDF file into your spreadsheet:



  1. Launch the “Excel” application.
  2. Open the workbook in which you want to work.
  3. Via the ribbon, choose the "Insert" tab.
  4. Tap the "Text" options, then "Subject."
  5. Tap the "Create from File" tab, then "Browse."
  6. Choose the location of the file, for example "Google Drive".
  7. Tap the PDF, then tap "Open."
  8. From the "Object" window, you can display the PDF as an icon by checking the "Display as icon" option. Otherwise, it will show a preview.
  9. To link directly to the original PDF so that any changes made to the original updates in the embedded version, check the "Link to file" box.
  10. Press “OK” to save changes.
    By default, the icon will display above your Excel cells. To ensure that it automatically adapts to any column resizing, do the following:
  11. Tap and hold the PDF file, then select "Format Object...".
  12. Choose the "Properties" tab and check the "Move and size with cells" option.
  13. Press "OK" to apply the changes.

Complete reports in Excel

Excel spreadsheets are great for storing, organizing, and analyzing financial data. Its functionalities are practical and help to make the reports as complete as possible.

Excel allows inclusion of source files for reference, with the added option of embedding files. It supports common file types, including PDFs. You will have the option to view the file as an icon or as a preview. You can also link to the original file so that any changes you make are reflected in the embedded version.

What other Excel features do you use for comprehensive reports? Tell us in the comments section below.

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