How to Embed a PDF in an Excel File

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

How to Embed a PDF in an Excel File

If you want to make the information in your spreadsheet more comprehensive, you can embed the PDF source file. In this article, we’ll cover how to embed a PDF into your Excel spreadsheet. In addition, you’ll discover 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 to which you want to add the PDF.
  2. On the ribbon, select the “Insert” tab.
  3. Select “Text,” then “Object.”
  4. Click on 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 showing the file, check the “Display as icon” checkbox.
  7. If you want to create a link to the source PDF file (so changes made there are reflected in the embedded PDF), check the “Link to file” checkbox.
  8. Click on “OK” to apply the changes.
    By default, the icon will display on top of your Excel cells. It will not autofit to your column layout, to change this:
  9. Right-click 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 a PDF in Excel on a Windows PC

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

  1. Launch “Excel” then the spreadsheet you want to work in.
  2. Via the ribbon, select the “Insert” tab.
  3. Click “Text,” then “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 display as an icon as opposed to a preview, check the “Display as icon” option.
  7. To create a link to the original PDF, so changes made there are replicated in the embedded file, check the “Link to file” checkbox.
  8. Click “OK” to save the changes.

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

How to Embed a PDF in Excel on an iPad

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

  1. Open the “Excel” app, then the spreadsheet you want to embed the PDF file into.
  2. From the ribbon, select the “Insert” tab.
  3. Tap on the “Text,” then “Object” options.
  4. Click on the “Create from file” tab, then select “Browse.”
  5. Choose the file location, e.g., “iCloud,” select the PDF, then “Open.”
  6. In the “Object” window, select the “Display as icon” checkbox to display the file as an icon. If not, a preview of the PDF will display.
  7. To link to the original PDF file, so changes made to the original will update to the embedded file, select the “Link to file” option.
  8. Tap “OK” to apply the changes.
    The file icon will display on top of the cells by default. Do the following so the icon autofits if you change the size of the cells:
  9. Press and hold the PDF file, then choose “Format Object… .”
  10. Tap on the “Properties” tab and select the “Move and size with cells” option.
  11. Tap “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 for iOS app:

  1. Open the “Excel” app.
  2. Open the spreadsheet you want to embed the PDF file into.
  3. Via the ribbon, tap the “Insert” tab.
  4. Tap on “Text,” then “Object.”
  5. Choose the “Create from file” tab, then “Browse.”
  6. Choose the file’s location, e.g., “Dropbox.”
  7.  Select the PDF, then “Open.”
  8. From the “Object” window, to display the file as an icon, select the “Display as icon” checkbox; otherwise, a preview of the PDF will display.
  9. If you want changes made to the original PDF file to update in the embedded version, choose the “Link to file” option.
  10. Tap “OK” to save the changes.
    The icon will display on top of the cells by default. For an autofit that adapts if you change the column sizes, 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. Tap “OK.”

How to Embed a PDF in Excel on an Android Device

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

  1. Launch the “Excel” app.
  2. Open the workbook you want to work in.
  3. Via the ribbon, choose the “Insert” tab.
  4. Tap on the “Text,” then “Object” options.
  5. Tap the “Create from file” tab, then “Browse.”
  6. Choose the file’s location, e.g., “Google Drive.”
  7.  Tap on the PDF, then “Open.”
  8. From 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 so that any changes made to the original updates in the embedded version, check the “Link to file” checkbox.
  10. Tap “OK” to save the changes.
    By default, the icon will display on top of your Excel cells. To ensure it autofits and adapts to any column re-sizing, do the following:
  11. Press and hold the PDF file, then select “Format Object… .”
  12. Choose the “Properties” tab and check the “Move and size with cells” option.
  13. Tap “OK” to apply the changes.

Comprehensive Reporting in Excel

Excel spreadsheets are excellent for storing, organizing, and analyzing financial data. Its features offer convenience and help to make reports as complete as possible.

Excel allows for the inclusion of source files for reference, with the additional option to embed files. It supports popular file types including PDFs. You’ll have the option to display the file as an icon or preview. You can also create a link to the original file so any changes made are reflected in the embed version.

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

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