How to Embed Files in PDF Documents

The portable document format, commonly referred to as PDF, is arguably one of the most often used tools for creating and distributing content today. First introduced in 1992 by Adobe, the PDF file format provides users with the ability to share content with users across a diverse array of operating systems and viewing platforms without having to worry about formatting and other presentation issues.

You can use the Adobe Acrobat software package to embed video, sound, images and even other PDFs into your original document.
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Not only can PDFs store text, but they are also capable of hosting a variety of embedded files, including images, additional PDF documents, unique fonts and more. Whether you are looking to embed a PDF in PDF documents you have made, or are simply looking to expand the richness of your content with other media, you can do so quickly and easily.


The PDF file format is capable of hosting a wide array of files. You can use the Adobe Acrobat software package to embed video, sound, images and even other PDFs into your original document.

The Basics of PDF Creation

When the PDF format was first created, its primary function was to eliminate the issues associated with cross-platform file distribution. In the early 1990s, it was difficult for working professionals to share content with colleagues or collaborators and guarantee that the file sent to them resembled the file they received. With the arrival of PDF, a format had now been introduced that stored inside of it critical data, such as the fonts used in the file as well as the specific formatting that the creator had intended.

With this idea in mind, it is easy to see why embedded file support has been integral to the development of PDF since its earliest inception. Today, many of these functions are automatically implemented when you create a PDF with any of the contemporary software capable of completing this task.

Manually Embedding Files in a PDF

If you are interested in taking a more granular, hands-on approach to embedding files in your PDF, your first step should be to obtain a copy of Adobe's Acrobat software package. Acrobat acts as the de facto standard for professional-level PDF creation. Using this software, you can make your PDF link to attachments as well as a variety of other powerful functions.

After opening Acrobat, you will first need to open the original PDF that you would like to add files to. Once this step has been completed, you can begin embedding files in your PDF by selecting the "Attach a File" option from the "Document" menu.

It is important to remember that just because you have attached a file to a PDF does not mean that it will be presented within the PDF itself. For example, although you have the ability to attach video and sound files to your PDF, they can only be directly accessed by a viewer using the Adobe Reader software. If someone is viewing your PDF on their smartphone or through another software application, this content will be inaccessible.

Important Considerations For Creators

One of the distinct advantages of a PDF file is that it effectively balances accessibility with memory requirements. PDF files are typically economical when it comes to their memory footprint. However, if you do begin embedding video files and other "data-heavy" content into your PDF, you should be prepared for a significantly more cumbersome file. Because of this, the number of PDF with video examples will always be scarcer than simple PDFs involving text and image only. Depending on your needs, you may or may not find that embedding files is in your best interest.