Excel spreadsheets play a vital role in storing and analyzing data, especially for accountants and other professions. If you have an Excel workbook for issuing invoices and need to add some PDF invoices to a worksheet as references, you may wish to learn the way to insert a PDF into Excel. The good news is there are multiple ways to help with that, including using Microsoft Excel and SwifDoo PDF software.

For those who are strangers to how to insert a PDF into an Excel file, this post will provide 5 simple ways along with step-by-step tutorials for you.

Insert PDF into Excel as an Object

Microsoft Excel integrates a set of tools that you can use to perform a wide range of tasks, including calculating, charting, and graphing. It also enables you to insert a PDF as an object into an Excel worksheet or workbook. The feature is available in Excel 2010, Excel 2013, Excel 2016, Excel 365, and some other versions for both Mac and Windows devices. Here is the instruction on how to insert a PDF into Excel.

Step 1: Open your Excel file with Microsoft Excel and tap the Insert menu on the top;

Step 2: Select Object in the drop-down menu;


Step 3: Choose Create from file in the pop-up dialog box, then browse your computer to import a PDF;


Step 4: Hit OK to insert the PDF into your Excel file, and the first full page of the PDF will display in the file.

You can insert your PDF file as a small icon that covers less area and can be clicked to open the file. To do that, tick the "Display as icon" checkbox in the "Object" window before pressing the "OK" button. To change the display name of the icon, hit “Change icon” in the same window. The feature is very useful when you have to insert multiple PDF documents into your Excel file.


Near the "Display as icon" option, there is a “Link to file” checkbox. Ticking the box will link the inserted PDF to the source file so that you can keep the attachment up to date with whatever changes you made to the original.  

When you need to insert a PDF into Excel, you may expect to insert it into an individual cell and make the icon or page move and resize along with the cell automatically. In this case, hold down the Alt key and drag each bounding box handle of the icon to precisely align it with the cell separately. After that, right-click on the icon and choose “Format Object” > “Properties” > “Move and size with cells”. That’s how to insert a PDF into an Excel cell and keep the icon fit to the cell.

Insert a PDF into Excel By Hyperlinking to a Picture

In addition to using the “Object” feature to import your PDF into Excel, you can attach the PDF to Excel with the “Pictures” tool. Thanks to the powerful Microsoft Excel, you can add a hyperlink to a picture in an Excel sheet. This feature makes it easy to insert or link your PDF into Excel. In other words, you can insert a picture into Excel first, and link the picture to a PDF. The PDF will then open when you click on the image.  

Step 1: Open your spreadsheet in the Excel program and click Insert on the top;   

Step 2: Select Pictures in the secondary toolbar to import a picture into Excel;  


Step 3: Right-click on the picture and choose Link in the pop-up menu;


Step 4: Locate and select the PDF you want to link to Excel.         

How to Insert PDF into Excel by Converting to Excel

When you fail to embed a PDF in Excel, for example on Mac due to the specific security policy, an alternative way is to convert the PDF to Excel sheets. By using SwifDoo PDF to convert PDF to Excel format, you can directly move the worksheets converted from the PDF to another Excel file. Check how to import the content of PDF into Excel by converting the PDF.

Step 1: Launch SwifDoo PDF and open your PDF with it;

Step 2: Click Convert in the menu bar and select PDF to Excel in the drop-down menu;


Step 3: In the SwifDoo PDF Converter window, select which PDF pages to convert, and choose a folder to save the exported file;


Step 4: Press the Start button to convert the PDF to an Excel file.

To import the content in the PDF into Excel, you can open both the converted Excel and another, and move the whole worksheet or workbook to the target spreadsheet. Alternatively, open the Excel converted from the PDF, slightly adjust the layout, and copy and paste your needed forms and information into another Excel file.   

Tips:If you have a group of PDF documents to insert into an Excel file, you can add and convert all the PDFs to Excel files at once in the “SwifDoo PDF Converter” window.

For a PDF created in Word, you can convert it to a Word document by choosing "PDF to Word" from the "SwifDoo PDF Converter" dialog box. After the conversion, simply extract the forms or data you need to an Excel spreadsheet.

Insert a PDF into Excel as an Image

Instead of importing a complete PDF file into Excel, you may like to insert the PDF as an image. By doing so, you can view the content in the PDF instantly without opening the original file in another program. SwifDoo PDF enables you to convert PDF to image format in just a few clicks. You can turn all pages in a PDF into one image file or individual images with high resolution. Follow the guide below to add your PDF to Excel as a picture.  

Step 1: Drag and drop your PDF into the opened SwifDoo PDF application, tap Convert and choose PDF to Image;

Step 2: Choose whether to convert each PDF page to a separate image or selected pages into one image from the Option;


Step 3: Select the image format, resolution, and where to store the output file(s);

Step 4: Hit Start.

Step 5: When the PDF has been turned into a high-quality image, go to your Excel file, and choose Insert > Pictures to embed the picture.

In such a manner, you can insert a PDF into Excel as an image. SwifDoo PDF also allows you to convert a PDF to an image online for free with a web-based converter.

Import Data from PDF to Excel

If your PDF file is a bank statement or financial report, you may only need the tables to be inserted into Excel. Microsoft Excel has a feature enabling you to import data from a PDF to an Excel sheet directly. Check the tutorial below.

Step 1: Open your Excel file, go to Data > Get Data;

Step 2: Choose From File > From PDF;

Step 3: Select and import the PDF, choose the tables and pages you want to insert into Excel, then hit Load.

Frequently Asked Questions about How to Insert PDF into Excel

How do I insert a multi-page PDF into Excel?

When you insert a PDF document containing multiple pages into an Excel spreadsheet, Excel only presents the first PDF page. But actually, you have embedded the multi-page PDF into the Excel file successfully and when you double-click on the page, the complete PDF will be opened. If your PDF is too heavy, you can use the SwifDoo PDF splitter to split the PDF into several smaller files to insert into Excel with ease.

Why can't I embed a PDF in Excel?

If there is an error occurred when you attempt to put a PDF into your Excel worksheet or fail to add the PDF to Excel, the possible reason could be the PDF is protected from being executed, or corrupted.

Why won't Excel let me insert an object?

There may be sometimes when we can’t insert a PDF as an object into Excel, this is mostly because the PDF is opened in a program. Make sure you closed the PDF file. If you can’t find which program is running for opening it, go to Task Manager and close the possible task.



Susy has worked with PDF tools for more than 5 years. During the past time, PDF software is of huge assistance in increasing her productivity. She joined SwifDoo PDF one year ago and works as an editor now. Based on a lot of research and tests, Susy can offer users professional and practical solutions to PDF issues.