Invoices and financial statements are often shared in PDF formats, meaning the time may come when you need to know how to insert a PDF into Excel. Doing so can help the users you share your financial spreadsheet with quickly reference data and check it against its source.

Once you import a PDF into Excel, it will accessible even if the user doesn’t have the file on their local PC. Instead, it becomes embedded in the document itself, inflating its file size but offering a high degree of convenience.

Though the tools to embed a PDF in Excel are a bit hidden, it’s simple enough once you know where to look. We’re going to show you how below, and then explore the different display and formatting options you have available to you.


How to Insert a PDF into Excel

As you’d imagine the process to insert a PDF starts in the ribbon’s “Insert” tab, but the next steps are a little less intuitive.

  1. Switch to the Insert tab and add a text object

    Rather than a dedicated button, you embed a PDF in Excel via the text menu. Open the “Insert” tab on your ribbon, then click “Text > Object”.

  2. Switch to the “Create from File” tab and browse for your PDF

  3. Select your PDF you want to import and press “Open”

  4. Press “OK” in the Object window

  5. View your PDF text

    The first way Excel can display PDF documents is pictured below. It will show the PDF content so you can quickly reference it at a glance.

  6. Display the PDF as an icon instead

    If you want the PDF to take up a smaller portion of your screen, you can tick the “Display as icon” box when you insert it as an object instead.

  7. View your PDF as an icon

    The icon will look something like this, with your filename handily displayed below it. Double-clicking the icon will open the full PDF.

  8. Link the file to create a live document

    Ticking the “Link to file” option in the object’s options will both place the contents of your PDF into the document and link it to the original file. This turns into a live document, where any changes made to the original will be reflected in your Excel document.

    Press “OK” to apply any changes.

  9. View your live PDF icon


  10. Format the PDF to adhere to cells

    By default, the PDF displays on top of your Excel cells and won’t follow your column layout. If you’d like to change this, you can right-click it and press “Format Object…”.

  11. Open the Properties tab and select “Move and size with cells”

    Ticking this option will cause the icon or document preview to stretch when you lengthen or move cells, creating a more visually pleasing spreadsheet in some cases. Press “OK” to apply the changes.

Now that we’ve shown you how to insert a PDF into Excel, you may want to learn how to password protect it or how to print to PDF in the first place. Feel free to follow the linked guides if you do.