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Excel provides a plethora of features for organizing, manipulating, and handling your data. One of these unique features is inserting a PDF directly into Excel. The good news is it only involves a few simple steps to do it. Here’s how.

Inserting a PDF Into Excel

In the Excel file, head over to the “Insert” tab and then click the “Object” button.

Insert Object

In the Object window that appears, switch to the “Create from File” tab and then click “Browse.”

Create from File

Browse to the location of your file, select the file, and then click “Open.”

browse to PDF location

Back at the “Object” window, you’ll see the file path of your PDF. Now, you need to tell Excel how you want the file to appear in the spreadsheet. There are a few different options here. If you select “OK” without taking any further action in the “Object” window, the PDF file appears in Excel showing the contents of the PDF in its entirety.

Image of PDF

Alternatively, you can check the box next to “Display as icon” for a less intrusive option. This method, as the name suggests, inserts an icon that represents the contents of your file. Double-clicking the icon opens the file in your computer’s default PDF viewer.

Another solution would be to check the “Link to file” option. This option, as with the others, places the content of your PDF into Excel. The difference here is that it creates a link to the source file, making it a live document. Any changes to the source file would be reflected in your document.

Also keep in mind that you can select both the “Link to file” and “Display as icon” options, creating a less intrusive method of accessing a live document.

Once you’ve selected the option that works best for you, click “OK.”

Link to file option

Your PDF will now be inserted into Excel as an icon.

You’ll notice that once inserted, the PDF takes on an “In front of text” layout style and hovers above the cells. If you want to anchor the PDF to (and format with) a specific cell, then right-click the icon and select “Format Object” from the drop-down menu.

Format object

The “Format Object” window will now appear. There are several different things you can do here, including changing the size and color, cropping, and even adding alt text to the object. What we’re particularly interested in here, though, is object positioning.

First, select the “Properties” tab. You’ll find a few options concerning the positioning of the object. Here, select “Move and size with cells” and then click “OK.”

Note: If you don’t want the icon to appear in the printed version of the sheet, untick the “Print object” checkbox.

move and size with cells

Now any changes made to the cell, including hiding or resizing, will also apply to the icon.

Repeat these steps to insert multiple PDF files in your Excel sheet.

Profile Photo for Marshall Gunnell Marshall Gunnell
Marshall is a writer with experience in the data storage industry. He worked at Synology, and most recently as CMO and technical staff writer at StorageReview. He's currently an API/Software Technical Writer based in Tokyo, Japan, runs VGKAMI and ITEnterpriser, and spends what little free time he has learning Japanese.
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