When making references within a PDF file, most of us would think of adding notes to a PDF as a supplement. But what if the referenced file is a large attachment, to be more precise, a PDF document. Can we attach a file to a PDF?

Usually, an attachment refers to an additional file that can be an image, video, text document, or any other supported file type. Some PDF programs integrate the capability to add external files to PDFs, making it a reality to attach a file to a PDF. Therefore, in this post, we will cover how to add attachments to PDF.

How to Attach a File to a PDF on Windows

SwifDoo PDF

SwifDoo PDF is an all-rounder PDF software program on Windows. This desktop PDF editor supports adding text, links, and images to pages. In the newest rolled-out version, SwifDoo PDF enables users to attach an external file to a PDF for providing more source information or references to a specific section. The detailed instruction is listed below:

Step 1: Download SwifDoo PDF from the official website or Microsoft AppSource for free;

Step 2: Launch the software and open a PDF document, then navigate to Annotate > Attachment;swifdoo-pdf-add-attachment

Step 3: After clicking on the Attachment, put the cursor at the needed place, then choose a file from a local folder;   

Step 4: When uploaded, an attachment icon will appear at the place you add the attachment.swifdoo-pdf-add-attachment

This is the entire process of how to attach a file to a PDF on Windows. Notably, this additional file can be an Excel, image, text, PDF, PowerPoint, Word document. If you need to further access the attachment settings, just click on the “Attachment” in the left navigation bar. Users are allowed to change the attachment description and opening method.

                                                                                    Free Download

However, when you click on any attachment in the navigation panel, SwifDoo PDF cannot take you to the specific page which contains the attachment. This may be where improvements need to be made.  


How to Attach a File to a PDF on Mac

Even though macOS has an easy-to-use default PDF viewer - Preview, this app is unable to add additional PDFs to a PDF. If users need to attach external files to an existing PDF on macOS, they need to come up with other solutions.  

Adobe Reader

Adobe Reader offers another option to attach files to PDFs. Maybe you have already heard about Adobe Reader as an alternative to Adobe Acrobat. Exactly, Adobe Reader is a qualified PDF annotator and reader as well. Have a look at how to attach an additional file to a PDF in a few steps:

Step 1: Download Adobe Reader and start the program;

Step 2: Open a PDF that needs an attachment, select Tools on the menu bar, and then choose Comment;


Step 3: Click Add File and choose an additional file from the local folder.adobe-acrobat-add-attachment

As the screenshot shows, Adobe Reader enables users to change the attachment icon, access the review history, and edit general information if necessary. Once the recipients need to save the attached file locally, just right-click on the attachment to choose “Save Embedded File to Disk”. Aside from the mentioned features, Adobe Reader is able to set the status of the attachment.add-attachment-in-adobe

To reach a broader user base, Adobe Reader offers different versions so that it is compatible with multiple operating systems, like Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. In other words, macOS users can turn to Adobe Reader to attach a file to a PDF.

On the whole, it is not difficult to add attachments to PDFs. The provided solutions are reliable and safe to use. However, these two PDF programs are not freeware. SwifDoo PDF offers a 30-day free trial while Adobe 7-day free trial. If all you need is a comprehensive PDF software program, then try SwifDoo PDF.

How to Attach a File to a PDF Online

Maybe you don’t need to attach a file to a PDF frequently, so complicated registration or installation process seems to be a burden upon you. In this case, only online tools can help. In this section, we recommend an online tool to help attach a file to a PDF.

Add attachments to PDF, Remove attachments

When we tried to find something useful online to help attach a file to PDF, the process is full of ups and downs. Most PDF editors can only add images or text to a PDF, rather than add any attachment to a PDF. Eventually, we found Add attachments to PDF, a Chrome extension app, which can attach any files to an existing PDF without any charge. Here’s how to add an attachment to PDF easily:

Step 1: Start your Chrome browser, and enter Add attachments to PDF, Remove attachments on the search bar;


Step 2: Click the first search result and add this extension to your browser. When directed to a new website, upload two or more PDFs to the workspace;

Step 3: When ready, click Attach files to a PDF to start adding attachment(s) to the first PDF document.

Relatively, this web-based tool is easy to use and the instructions are provided on the website. Please note that, when you utilize this extension to attach a file to a PDF, the second and other PDFs are the files that will be attached to the first PDF document in the list.

To me personally, the website design of this tool is less modern and intuitive, and the displayed ads can be annoying sometimes. It doesn’t matter, however, as this is a free tool to add an attachment to another PDF after all.   


During reviews and tests, we finally come to the conclusion: attaching another file to a PDF is not that easy, especially with online tools. The good news is, most desktop PDF software programs have incorporated this feature to readily add an attachment to a PDF. That’s why we strongly advise users to add attachments to PDFs with desktop PDF editors.   

Common FAQ about Solutions to Attach Another File to a PDF

Q:How do I add an attachment to a PDF with Adobe Acrobat?

Adobe Acrobat, an advanced version of Adobe Reader, is able to attach another file to a PDF. Please follow the guide to add attachments to PDFs:

Step 1: Start Adobe Acrobat, select Tools, and click More in the Edit PDF menu;

Step 2: Choose Attach File, then upload the file you want to attach in the Add Files dialog box;



Roche has been an active PDF user for 6 years and tried different types of professional PDF tools (both online and desktop version) since at his bachelor degree. Now, Roche works as a columnist for SwifDoo PDF over the course of the last one year, and provides useful and practical solutions pertaining to various PDF topics for users from different features.