How to Insert a PDF Into a Microsoft Word Document

Working on a laptop

When you want to reference a PDF document in Word, one of the best ways to do so is by including the file in your document. There are several ways to insert a PDF into Microsoft Word. This tutorial shows how to add a PDF as an object, an icon, a hyperlink, linked text, screen clipping, or pull in the text from the file so that you can use whichever is most effective for you.

About Inserting a PDF When Sharing the Word Document

If you plan to share a Word document containing the PDF, you’ll also need to share the PDF file with your collaborators. Whether you insert it as an icon or link to the PDF as described below, those you share it with will receive an error or blank page when trying to open the file if you don’t share it first.

Check out the sharing features of your PDF software to see how others can view a local file. Alternatively, link to and share a PDF file that’s stored online or with a service like OneDrive, as described below.

Embed a PDF as an Object

One simple way to insert a PDF into a Word document is to embed it as an object. With this option, you can see the contents of the PDF and click it to open the file.

  1. Place your cursor in the Word document where you want to insert the PDF, then head to the “Insert” tab.
Word Insert tab
  1. In the Text section of the ribbon, select the arrow next to the Object button and choose “Object.”
Object on the Word Insert tab
  1. In the pop-up window, open the “Create from File” tab and use the “Browse” button to locate and select your file.
Create From File tab and Browse button
  1. The path will appear in the “File name” box at the top of the window.
File name for the PDF
  1. Check the box for “Link to File” to create a direct link to the PDF and select “OK” to insert the object.
Link To File box checked
  1. Your PDF will appear in the Word document as an embedded object. You can drag a corner or edge to resize the object or select it to open the file.
Embedded PDF in Word

Insert a PDF as an Icon

Maybe you want to provide an easy way to open the PDF without actually embedding the content. You can insert an icon for the file – even change the default icon if you would like.

  1. The first few steps here are identical to inserting a PDF as an object: place your cursor where you want the icon, go to the “Insert” tab, select the “Object” drop-down arrow, and choose “Object.” In the window that appears, go to the “Create from File” tab and use the “Browse” button to locate and select the PDF.
  1. The path for the file wll appear in the “File name” box at the top. Confirm the path and check the box for “Display as Icon.”
File name and Display As Icon box checked
  1. You can see a preview of the icon displayws below the check box. To use a different one, select “Change icon.”
Change Icon button
  1. If you have a saved icon you’d like to use, click “Browse” to locate and select it. Otherwise, choose an icon from the list. Click “OK” when you are finished.
Icon selection box in Word
  1. You’ll see a preview of the new icon below the “Display as Icon” check box. Check the “Link to File” box to create a direct link to the PDF.
Icon preview and Link To File box checked
  1. Click “OK” to add the icon for your PDF to the document.
OK button to display the PDF as an icon
  1. You’ll see the icon in your document and can click to open the PDF.
PDF Displayed as an icon in Word

Including a simple link to the PDF rather than embedding it or inserting an icon is a good option if you have a list of hyperlinks in your document or just want quick access to it.

  1. Place your cursor in the document where you want the link. If you’d like to link existing text instead, select that text.
  2. Go to the “Insert” tab, open the “Link” drop-down menu (or the “Links” menu if your ribbon is condensed), and choose “Insert Link.”
Insert Link in the Links menu
  1. In the pop-up window, choose “Existing File or Web Page” on the far left. To the right, you can select “Current Folder” or “Recent Files” to find a local file quickly. Select it from the list.
File selection box for a link in Word
  1. If you don’t see the file in these two spots, use the “Look in” field near the top to open the file’s location, then select the PDF from the list.
Look In field to locate a file to link
  1. If you have your PDF stored online, you can use an external link to the file. In the pop-up window, choose “Existing File or Web Page” on the far left. To the right, select “Browsed Pages” and select the link if you visited the page recently. Otherwise, enter the URL in the “Address” field near the bottom.
Browsed Pages and Address field for a link
  1. If you selected text for the link, you’ll see this at the top of the pop-up box. You can adjust the text if you would like; just be aware that this changes the text in your actual document as well.
Text To Display field for a link in Word
  1. Click “OK” to insert a hyperlink to the file.
OK button to link to the PDF
  1. When you see the hyperlink in your document, you can click it or hold Ctrl and click to open the PDF.
Hyperlinked text in Word

Tip: if you're creating a letter or contract, you can also add a signature to the Word document.

Use a Screen Clipping of a PDF

Another way to insert a PDF in Word is to use a simple screenshot. This is handy if you don’t want to access the original file and just want to show a snapshot of it.

  1. Make sure that the PDF you want to use is open. You can have it on another monitor or next to the Word document.
PDF file open
  1. Place your cursor in the Word document where you want the screenshot. Go to the “Insert” tab and open the “Screenshot” menu in the Illustrations section of the ribbon.
Screenshot button on the Insert tab
  1. In the drop-down box, you should see the window containing your PDF file below “Available Windows.” Select the window to insert the screenshot in your document.
PDF selected below Available Windows
  1. You’ll see your screenshot appear in the Word document.
Screenshot inserted in Word
  1. Alternatively, you can choose “Screen Clipping” in the “Screenshot” menu to capture the portion of your document you would like included.
Screen Clipping in the Screenshot menu
  1. When you choose this option, your cursor changes to a crosshair symbol. Drag and release to capture the portion of the document you would like to be included.
Capturing a Screen Clipping from Word
  1. You’ll see the screen clipping of your PDF in your Word document and can work with it like any other embedded image.
Screen Clipping in Word

Insert the Text From a PDF

One more way to insert a PDF into a Word document is by grabbing the text from it. This is sort of like using copy and paste to insert text; however, this method pulls in all text from the document.

Note: if you have special characters or symbols in the PDF document, these may not display correctly in the Word document. This option works best with plain text.

  1. Place your cursor in the document where you want the text and go to the “Insert” tab.
Word Insert tab
  1. In the Text section of the ribbon, select the arrow next to the Object button and choose “Text from File.”
Text From File in the Object menu
  1. Locate and select the file in the pop-up window that appears, then click “Insert” at the bottom.
Insert button for the selected file
  1. You may see a pop-up message letting you know that Word will convert your PDF to an editable Word document. This does not affect your original PDF. Click “OK” to continue or “Cancel."
Message for inserting text from a PDF in Word
  1. The text from your PDF should appear in the document. You can work with this text as if you typed it into the Word document.
Text from a PDF inserted in Word

Note: you can convert your Word Document back into a PDF after combining multiple sources.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I insert other types of files in Word with these same methods?

You can insert many other file types into a Word document using these methods. However, they may not all work the same way, and it depends on the file type.

For example, when you get to the step where you select the file as an object, icon, or link, you may see the file grayed out. You also may see a message when trying to insert the file letting you know that there’s a problem. These are indicators that you cannot perform the particular action with that type of file.

How do I remove a PDF inserted into Word?

The method to remove the PDF depends on how you insert it.

If you add an object, icon, or screen clipping, simply select that item and press Delete. If you use a hyperlink, right-click and select “Remove Hyperlink” to keep the text. Alternatively, delete the linked text if you no longer need it or the link.

How do I convert a PDF file into a Word format?

In some cases, you can open the PDF in Microsoft Word, and it will be editable. With a blank Word document open, go to "File -> Open," then browse for and select the PDF file. When the file opens, select “Enable Editing” at the top.

As some characters and symbols may not convert properly, you can also use an online file converter or third-party application. Check out our how-to for converting a PDF to Word for instructions on these options.

Image credit: Pixabay. All screenshots by Sandy Writtenhouse.

Sandy Writtenhouse
Sandy Writtenhouse

With her BS in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She wanted to help others learn how technology can enrich business and personal lives and has shared her suggestions and how-tos across thousands of articles.

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