How Do I Add Attachments to Microsoft Word?

By Shea Laverty

Your Word files can contain images, external documents and other attachments to help illustrate the text's points or provide extra information. Word features the ability to attach numerous file types into a document, including PDFs, pictures, Excel spreadsheets and more.

Attaching Document Objects

Step 1

Click the "Insert" tab from the Ribbon. This tab features numerous items to insert, including tables, pages, charts and other types of files.

Step 2

Select "Object" from the Text group to launch the Object dialog box. Word considers any file created outside of Word to be an object.

Step 3

Select the "Create from File" tab and click "Browse" to open a browser window that displays the files in the current folder. Note that all files are displayed and selectable, regardless of compatibility with Word.

Step 4

Navigate through your folders to the file you want to attach, select it and click "Insert."

Step 5

Check the "Link to file" check box if you want the file in the document to update when changes are made to the original. This is a handy feature for files that frequently change, such as a work-in-progress Excel spreadsheet contained in a newsletter or report.

Step 6

Click "OK" to add the file to your document. It's best to insert the file at the desired location in the document, as its placement may affect the way your layout breaks blocks of text. You can, however, move the embedded file as necessary after insertion to accommodate your layout, but beware that moving the object risks accidental stretching by grabbing a corner.

Attaching Pictures

Step 1

Click the "Insert" tab on the Ribbon, then "Pictures" from the Illustrations group to launch a browser dialog so that you can locate the picture on your hard drive.

Step 2

Choose the picture from your folders and click "Insert."

Step 3

Adjust the picture size and position as necessary to accommodate your document's layout.

Attaching Hyperlinks

Step 1

Use links for fact-checking citations or to tie an image to a related website. To start, select the text or image you want to use as the clickable link. Any text or image not already associated with a hyperlink is a viable target.

Step 2

Right-click the image or text and select "Hyperlink" from the context menu.

Step 3

Select "Existing File or Web page" from the "Link to" menu to link to an existing website. Type or paste a website address into the address box and click "OK" to add the hyperlink to the selected text or picture.

Step 4

Select "E-mail Address" from the "Link to" menu to open a blank email message to the target email address. Type or paste the email address, then click "OK."

Attaching Comments

Step 1

Use comments to ask important questions regarding information in the document, or to point out errors or other potentially useful information for the document's editor. To start, select the text to which you want to attach a comment.

Step 2

Click the "Review" tab on the Ribbon, then select "New Comment" and type your comment.

Step 3

Press the "Esc" key or click outside of the comment box once you're finished to add your comment.

Tips & Warnings

  • Objects incompatible with Word or Office display only as an icon, instead of anything useable like an actual image, chart or playable media.
  • Certain objects, like video media, may be compatible on one computer but not on another, because the second computer lacks a required codec to play the video.
  • You can also add pictures by pasting them into the document directly, or dragging and dropping them from an open folder.
  • Reply to another person's comment by clicking the "Reply" button on the original comment. Comments are also usually timestamped and feature the name of the person commenting.
  • While you can attach any file to the document using the Insert Object option, not all files will display properly. Specialized files that display only with certain programs, like Blender 3D models used in computer-aided design and animation, will not display properly, if at all.
  • Don't move your embedded files to another location after attaching them to the document -- this will break the link and require you to re-attach the file to the document.