How to Insert a PDF in Microsoft Word

By Alan Bradford

PDF files are a final-destination publishing format that encapsulate multiple document elements into a print-ready file. As a result, the text, illustrations and images can be hard to extract and place into a Microsoft Word document. Fortunately, you can either insert the PDF or copy and paste images of the PDF pages right into the Word document. While there are some limitations based on whether your Word document will be printed or only viewed online, importing a PDF or pasting PDF page images into Word can provide satisfactory results with a minimum of effort.

For Printing

Step 1

Open the PDF in Adobe Reader.

Step 2

Click the "Tools" menu, click "Select & Zoom" then click "Snapshot Tool."

Step 3

Click and drag from one corner of the first PDF page to the opposite corner so that the whole page is selected. A message appears stating that an image of the page is copied to the clipboard.

Step 4

Open your Word document and place the cursor where you want to insert the PDF page.

Step 5

Click the "Edit" menu, then click "Paste." The PDF page appears in the Word document. The page you see is not in PDF format, but is a copied image of the page as it appears in the PDF.

Step 6

Repeat these steps for each page in the PDF that you want to appear in the Word document.

For Online Viewing

Step 1

Open your Word document and place the cursor where you want to insert the PDF.

Step 2

Click the "Insert" menu, then click "Object."

Step 3

Select "Adobe Acrobat Document," then click "OK."

Step 4

Locate and select the PDF file that you want to import into the Word document, then click "Open." The first page of the PDF file appears in your Word document and the PDF file opens in Adobe Reader. The entire PDF file is embedded in your Word document, but only the first page of the PDF appears on the page. You must double click the PDF object to open the PDF file in Adobe Reader.

Tips & Warnings

  • Inserting the PDF file as an object causes a thumbnail image of the first PDF page to appear in the Word document. If you print the Word document, only the first page of the PDF will print and the page will appear very low quality, since it is only a thumbnail image. Therefore, this process is ideal for giving a presentation or emailing the Word document to another for online viewing.
  • Some tools are available, often for a fee, that allow you to convert a PDF file contents into a Word document. Refer to the "Resources" section for a list of suggested tools. When you convert the PDF to a Word document, you can copy and paste the content to your Word document.
  • Some vector art images may not translate properly when you copy the PDF image into Word.