How to embed PDF in Excel file

In many cases, Excel spreadsheets are used to organize financial information into a logical format. The source data used to populate spreadsheets often comes from PDFs of financial statements and invoices.

How to embed PDF in Excel file

If you want to make the information in the spreadsheet more comprehensive, you can embed the PDF source file. In this article, we’ll show you how to embed a PDF into an Excel spreadsheet. Also, you’ll learn how to link the PDF to the original file so that any updates made to the original file are reflected in the embedded copy.

notes: Excel for Mac doesn’t allow objects like PDFs, so we’ve found a limited workaround that you can use.

How to Embed PDFs in Excel on Mac

As mentioned earlier, due to security concerns and Apple’s policies, you cannot “directly” embed PDFs in Excel for Mac like you can in Windows. However, we’ve found an alternative solution that might work for you. Typically, you add an “object”, which is a PDF file, and you can double-click the image to open the file or right-click and select Open. The Mac displays a “Unable to insert object” error instead. The Mac still lets you insert Office file objects because it scans the file’s application (Word, Excel, etc.) and performs a security check, but everything else is void.

The option we found allows you to insert a picture or icon as a file and then add a link to it, essentially doing the same thing as inserting a PDF object. The only difference is that you have to create a thumbnail (either Generic Create or Screenshot), choose to use a picture from a file, or browse for a generic image in the Office Library. Follow the steps below to add a PDF file to an Excel spreadsheet on macOS.

  1. Open Excel and the workbook where you want to embed the PDF.
    Excel Mac Embed PDF 001
  2. Select the cell where you want to place the link to the PDF file. The image won’t technically reside in the cell, but doing so serves as a placeholder for inserting it.
    Excel Mac Embed PDF 002
  3. click “insert” tab at the top and select “Photos -> Pictures from Files..” or “icon.”
    Excel Mac Embed PDF 003
  4. Browse for a picture or icon that you want to use as a PDF image link.
    Excel Mac Embed PDF 004
  5. Resize the image to fit your spreadsheet. You can also crop it to remove white space.
    Excel Mac Embed PDF 005
  6. Right-click (or two-finger tap) on the image/icon and select “Hyperlinks……”
    Excel Mac Embed PDF 006
  7. Make sure you select the “Webpage or file” tab, and click Select to open the file browser.
    Excel Mac Embed PDF 007
  8. Find and select the PDF file to link to the spreadsheet thumbnail.
    Excel Mac Embed PDF 008
  9. Click the “OK” button.
    Excel Mac Embed PDF 009
  10. To open a PDF, double-click the icon or right-click (or two-finger tap) the thumbnail and select “Open hyperlink.”
    Excel Mac Embed PDF 010

After following the above steps, you will get an embedded PDF file in your Excel for Mac spreadsheet. Double-click the image to open the PDF file or right-click the image and select Open Hyperlink. It’s that simple!

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Follow the steps to embed PDF in Excel on Mac and you’ll get a spreadsheet for Mac and Windows.

How to Embed PDF in Excel on Windows PC

Embedding PDFs into Excel spreadsheets is easier on Windows than on Mac. Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10, 11, etc. allow OLE objects, so you can use the “Insert -> Object” option.

  1. emission “Excellence” Then there’s the spreadsheet you’ll be working with.
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  2. From the ribbon, select the Insert tab.
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  3. Click Text, and then click Object.
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  4. Select the Create From File tab, then select Browse to locate your file.
    4 28
  5. Select the PDF, then select Insert.
    5 28
  6. In the Object window, check the Display as icon option if you want the file to appear as an icon instead of a preview.
    6 27
  7. To create a link to the original PDF so that changes made there are replicated in the embedded file, select the Link to file check box. You’ll also need to allow updating images in Settings.
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  8. Click OK to save changes.
    7 24
    The icon will automatically appear at the top of the spreadsheet cells. Do the following to automatically fit the file to a column layout:
  9. Right click on it and select “Format Object…”
    8 24
  10. Click the Properties tab and select the Use Cell Move and Resize option. Icons now stretch if you change the size of the cell.
    10 21
  11. Click OK to save changes.
    10 22

How to Embed PDFs in Excel on iPad

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

  1. Open the “Excel” application, and then open the spreadsheet in which you want to embed the PDF file.
    23 6
  2. From the ribbon, select the Insert tab.
    24 6
  3. Click on “Text” and then click on the “Object” option.
  4. Click the Create From File tab, and select Browse.
  5. Choose a file location, such as “iCloud,” choose the PDF, and then “Open.”
  6. In the Object window, select the Display as Icon checkbox to display the file as an icon. Otherwise, a PDF preview will be displayed.
  7. To link to the original PDF file so that changes made to the original file are updated to the embedded file, select the Link to File option.
  8. Click OK to apply the changes.
    By default, the file icon will be displayed at the top of the cell. Do the following so the icons automatically adjust when you change the cell size:
  9. Press and hold on the PDF file, and select Format Object….
  10. Click the “Properties” tab and select the “Use Cells for Moving and Resizing” option.
  11. Click OK.
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How to Embed PDFs in Excel on iPhone

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

  1. Open the “Excel” application.
    25 5
  2. Open the spreadsheet where you want to embed the PDF file.
    26 2
  3. From the ribbon, click the Insert tab.
    28 2
  4. Click Text, then click Object.
  5. Select the Create From File tab, then select Browse.
  6. Choose a location for the file, such as “Dropbox”.
  7. Select the PDF, and then choose Open.
  8. In the Object window, to display the file as an icon, select the Display as Icon check box; otherwise, a PDF preview is displayed.
  9. Select the “Link to file” option if you want changes made to the original PDF file to be updated in the embedded version.
  10. Click OK to save changes.
    By default, the icon will be displayed at the top of the cell. For autofit that adjusts when you change the column size:
  11. Long press on the PDF and select “Format Object…”.
  12. Select the “Properties” tab, and then select the “Use cell movement and resizing” option.
  13. Click OK.

How to Embed PDFs in Excel on Android Devices

Follow the steps below to embed a PDF file into a spreadsheet through the Excel for Android application:

  1. Start the “Excel” application.
    20 3
  2. Open the workbook you want to work in.
    22 3
  3. From the ribbon, select the Insert tab.
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  4. Click on “Text” and then click on the “Object” option.
  5. Click the Create From File tab, then click Browse.
  6. Choose a location for the file, such as “Google Drive”.
  7. Click on the PDF, then click Open.
  8. In the Object window, you can display the PDF as an icon by checking the Display as Icon option. Otherwise, it will display a preview.
  9. To create a live link to the original PDF for any changes that are updated from the original in the embedded version, select the “Link to file” checkbox.
  10. Click OK to save changes.
    By default, this icon will appear at the top of Excel cells. To make sure it automatically adjusts and adapts to any column resizing:
  11. Press and hold on the PDF file, and select Format Object….
  12. Select the “Properties” tab and check the “Use cell movement and resizing” option.
  13. Click OK to apply the changes.
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Comprehensive Reporting in Excel

Excel spreadsheets are great for storing, organizing, and analyzing financial data. Its features provide convenience and help make reporting as complete as possible.

Excel allows the inclusion of source files for reference and provides the additional option of embedding files. It supports popular file types, including PDF. You can choose to display the file as an icon or as a preview. You can also create a link to the original file so any changes you make are reflected in the embedded version.

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

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