How to Insert a File into a Word Document

You can insert various file types -- including Excel spreadsheets and PDF documents -- into Microsoft Word 2013 documents. You can embed the file into the document so that others can open it on their computer. If you link to the file and then edit it, the changes are reflected in the Word document automatically. Unlike linked files, embedded objects are not updated in Word when you make changes to the source file.


Save your work periodically to avoid losing it in case Microsoft Word freezes or crashes. By default, Office programs automatically save your work every 10 minutes.

Step 1

Image Credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Open the document to edit in Microsoft Word or create a new document, switch to the Insert tab, and then click the Object button in the Text group to display the Object dialog.

Step 2

Image Credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Switch to the Create From File tab, click the Browse button and then use the file browser to select the file to insert. Click Insert to insert the file.


  • You can insert any type of file into the Word document, including executable files -- EXE extension -- and archives: RAR or ZIP files.
  • Word displays a preview of files such as PDFs, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations and OpenOffice documents. Other files types are displayed in the document as an icon, along with their name and extension.
  • Double-clicking any embedded file opens it using the application that was used to create it. Other users can't open embedded files on their computers unless they have the necessary software installed.

Step 3

Image Credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Check the Link To File box to link to the file instead of embedding it into the document. If you edit the linked file, the changes are reflected in the Word document.

Note that linked files are not embedded into the document and are not transferred automatically if you send the document to others; in this case, the link will be broken.


The link is broken if you delete or rename the linked file; you can't access the file by double-clicking it in Word, although its preview may display properly. The linked file must be in the location it was in when the link was created, otherwise you can't access it from Word.

Step 4

Image Credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Check the Display As Icon box to display the file as an icon. By default, Word displays a preview of some file types in the document; you can remove the preview by using an icon.

Change the icon by clicking the Change Icon button and then selecting a different option from the Icon list. To change the text that displays below the icon in the document, type something else into the Caption field.

Click OK to insert the file into the Word document. To save the changes, press Ctrl-S.


  • You can reposition the file in the document by clicking and dragging it.
  • To delete a file, select it and press Delete.
  • You can check both the Link To File and Display As Icon boxes if you want to link to a file and display it as an icon in the document.