Word: Insert a multi page PDF

August 8, 2011

Word is kludgy (that’s a technical term!) when it comes to inserting objects from other applications — including from other Office apps. When you insert a file as an object, only ONE page of the file is displayed in Word. Too bad if your file has multiple pages… as most do.

Carol’s problem was with a multi page PDF she had created from Excel (the original was a large text table — nothing fancy). The spreadsheet was fairly wide, and she had created the PDF using an A3 paper size. The resulting document was seven pages long. She wanted to insert it in her Word document as an Appendix but to date it had beaten her. So she asked me for help.

And that’s when I discovered that Word’s ‘Insert Object from file’ function only inserts the first page of the file. Which is just stupid. And is just useless for most people in the business world where multiple page documents are the norm. (The links below this post  confirm that only one page is inserted — most of the information in these links is from Microsoft Word MVPs, people who have much more knowledge about this stuff than I do.)

I tested several options — I was able to get the PDF into the Word document, but not without a fair bit of trial and error. In essence, you’ll save the PDF pages as images, then insert those images into Word. I told you it was kludgy!

I’ve documented some methods below — the method YOU use will depend on the software you have. If you have full Acrobat (NOT Adobe Reader), then you have a better chance of getting a decent result, than if you don’t (use Method 1). If you don’t have full Acrobat, but have graphics software that will take screen captures, then use Method 2. And if you have neither full Acrobat nor a screen capture program, then you’ll have difficulty achieving your goal of inserting a PDF file into Word (see Other Options).

Method 1: Using full Acrobat

  1. Open the PDF in Acrobat (NOT Adobe Reader).
  2. Select File > Save As from the menu (I’m using Acrobat Professional 9, but later versions should work similarly).
  3. Click the drop-down arrow next to Save as type to see the available file types.
  4. Select one of these: JPG, PNG, or TIF.
    In my testing, the results from each file type were similar — TIF had a *slightly* crisper text quality and added about 700 KB to the Word document for EACH page saved from the PDF; JPG and PNG were similar in text quality (and only marginally fuzzier than TIF in the printed output) — they added about 900 KB and 150 KB respectively per page to the Word document’s size. I suggest you do your own testing of the on screen and printed resolutions of the various file formats to find the best for you.
  5. Click Save. Acrobat will create a separate image for each page in the PDF in the folder specified on the Save As dialog; e.g. <name of document>_Page_1.png etc.
  6. Open the Word document and insert the images into the document as you normally would. If the images are large (as Carol’s were), add an A3 landscape section for the images.

Method 2: Using a screen capture program

If you have a screen capture program such as SnagIt, you can ‘print’ to it from the PDF to create the individual images. If you know the output file type you want and if want SnagIt to sequentially number the files create, set up your printer output parameters in SnagIt beforehand (this is not essential).

  1. Open the PDF. You don’t need full Acrobat for this — Adobe Reader is fine.
  2. Select File > Print from the menu.
  3. Select the SnagIt printer drive from the list of printers on the Print dialog.
  4. Select the page range (it’s All by default).
  5. Click OK.
  6. An image of each page is captured according to your SnagIt printer defaults (if you set them), and the images are sent to SnagIt Editor, where you can modify them or save them as something else.
  7. Open the Word document and insert the images into the document as you normally would. If the images are large (as Carol’s were), add an A3 landscape section for the images.

Other options

Some other options for getting a PDF into Word include:

  • Wait until your Word document is PDF’ed, then add the pages of the existing PDF into it using Document > Insert Pages from the Acrobat menu.
  • Copy and paste the Excel table directly into Word — see https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2009/06/05/word-2003-import-an-excel-2003-table/
  • Select the text in the PDF, then copy/paste it into Word, OR save the PDF as a *.txt or *.rtf or *.doc file. Note: With any of these methods, you’ll lose some or all formatting, so only do this if the PDF is small and uncomplicated.
  • Insert the PDF as an object (linked or not) with an icon. However, it won’t print out the text when you print the Word document — you have to double-click the PDF icon first to open the PDF, print it out separately, then print the Word document.

See also:


[Links last checked August 2011]


  1. There’s one more method I didn’t see listed (sorry if I missed it) that I’ve found to be easiest for me. Use the “Take a Snapshot” feature in Adobe Reader, its under the Edit menu. Basically, I take a snapshot of each pdf page and paste each one onto the Word document using hard page breaks in between each page.

  2. Thanks Ed. Yep, that works too — except in Adobe Reader 9 (the version I have), the Snapshot Tool is under the Tools > Select and Zoom menu, not Edit.

    However, it’s still another method of capturing an image of each page and inserting it, NOT inserting the entire PDF at once, which is what I would like to see Word do.


  3. Well, thanks…but I have a three hundred page pdf that needs to be converted to word. However, it’s so huge it locks my machine up. If I split it into 20 page word documents then try to put the document back together again, I can only insert (of word) one page at a time. I need a multiple page insert something or other and can’t find it anywhere!!!

  4. Hi SidneyKay

    Do you need to *convert* the PDF to Word? or *insert* the PDF into Word?

    If you need to convert it, then use the ‘Save As’ option in Acrobat that saves it to Word format (doc or docx file type). You’ll still have some cleaning up to do.

    If you need to insert it as an entire document, then I suggest you use the method I describe in the first bullet point in the ‘Other Options’ section of this post. That’s quick and easy.


  5. I have to say, Office 2010 sucks on this front: Office 2007 would drop in an entire multipage pdf perfectly (and this is something we regularly do at work) :( From my scooting around the web, it seems the 64bit platform is the culprit. We can just wait and pray for a fix!

  6. Office 2010 simply sucks, all 64 buggy bits of it. From pdf conflicts to the “ribbon” fiasco. This is how a brand dies.

  7. Method 1 work well for me using Word 2007. In my case I needed fixed images in Word that would look exactly like the PDF.

  8. i really had to make my images in word look the same like PDF. AND i do not want to do it again.

  9. You can insert multiple pages from a PDF into Word using Insert_PDFs (to Word) from http://www.OfficeExpander.com

    This works right from Word (Office 2000-2010) using an Insert PDFs button. There is a free trial version that inserts a couple of pages from a PDF. You can also resize all the inserted PDFs.


  10. I read all of this and tried various options mentioned here and elsewhere before finally trying the commercial product from OfficeExpander in the August 21, 2012 post above. I have used it now as a trial and then as a paid product. Although I had trouble getting the trial to work due to macro permissions, I got around it. Once I paid for the product and downloaded it, I had no problems at all. Thanks for leading me to the product. It was worth every penny of the $10 it cost me. BTW, I do not work for the company! I work for a set of charter schools in Texas, Responsive Education Solutions. But I paid for the product personally. Thanks again.

  11. Ok here’s a twist……..create a worksheet in excel, make it as many pages of rows as you need. Don’t use any Active-X or Form as they import as graphics with this method. But a plain and simple text only spread sheet. Mine would have printed out as 11 x 17 in landscape to be about ten pages. Put a Border around it with column or row separators….how ever you want it to look.

    Now, go to a Word Document a create a Table with just ONE square, a 1 by 1.

    Now, go back to the Excel document and highlight all the cells that represent your work you want in Word. Cntrl +C to put on the ClipBoard.

    Now, go back to the 1×1 cell, make sure you’re in it. Then PASTE in the ClipBoard, thinks for awhile and inserts that dang stuff across multiple pages. Why so hard……..? Don’t know. Why this work, don’t know. To make it clean. Go to the One Cell and change the “Border Setting” to none.

  12. A free option is using http://pdf2jpg.net to convert the pdf file into jpg. It automatically splits the pdf into individual jpg images, one for each page. You can save them all as zip file. After extracting, choose insert image in Word, and select all the pages – Word will insert them collectively as a series of images. Very easy, did the job for me.

  13. Thanks, Rhonda, for clarifying the steps to follow for finding the Snapshot Tool in Adobe Reader 9 – lifesaver!

  14. I have used the free option mentioned by Sune Mortenson in the post above after taking their advice. It works very well and does insert multiple pages into word that are adjustable. Great suggestion. MUCH better than the one page at a time method I used before.

  15. Oops, sorry. I did not mean the post by Sune Mortenson, but that further up by Wendit as follows:

    You can insert multiple pages from a PDF into Word using Insert_PDFs (to Word) from http://www.OfficeExpander.com

    This works right from Word (Office 2000-2010) using an Insert PDFs button. There is a free trial version that inserts a couple of pages from a PDF. You can also resize all the inserted PDFs.


    by Wendit August 21, 2012 at 2:56 am

  16. The free way to do tis (on Mac at least) is to use Insert Photo – Picture From File – then choose the page you want to insert.

  17. Another option is to cut up the pdf into separate pages using Adobe writer if you have the full copy, saving them as separate files and inserting one page at a time on separate word pages.

  18. Thanks for the tips.
    Doing any of these leaves the object unlinked to the orginial PDF so that still means further work down the line as the controlled PDF changes.


  19. That was awesome – thanks very much for all your efforts. Option 1 worked perfectly for me.

  20. If the goal, ie. the result from word is just to print or email, I find just outputting the word doc to a pdf, and then just merge the pdf´s in “pdf-land/pdf format”. Work only with whole pages, and you don´t get word page-head or -foot, … but otherwise. :-)

  21. I had been searching on how to embed multiple page documents into one main Word document, and came across a great solution so I wanted to share it!

    Instead of using the “Create from File” option, I linked the text from the source document to the main document. Here’s the process I used for Word 2013:

    1.On the INSERT ribbon, select the arrow next to “Object” and choose “Text from file”.
    2.Select the source document you want to use. In my case, it was another Word Document, so I can’t speak to other file types.
    3.At the bottom of the “Insert file” box, choose “Insert as link” instead of just “Insert”.
    4.When the text is inserted properly, it will appear as a grayed-text area.
    5.Now, test the linking by saving your document and opening the source document you just inserted. Add or change something, save it and close it.
    6.Reopen your main document. Go to the inserted text. Right-click and choose “Update Field”. The edits should show.

    Yes, it stinks that you’ll have to update every link each time you open the main document. But hey, at least it’s allowing you multiple paged documents now!

  22. This is a good way to insert a Multipage pdf in Winword:
    – install pdffill (or another program that does the same job (= saving pages of pdf as image)
    -tab Tools=> pdf tools =>convert pdf to images=> (click .jpg)=>save as image=>choose save folder=>save
    -all pdf pages are saved as images now in a folder of your choice
    – Open Winword (2007)
    -open docx in which you want to insert the pdf doc
    – position cursor
    – Insert tab=>insert picture=>go to folder with saved jpg pictures=>select all pictures(=pages) =>OK
    – now all pdf pages are inserted as pictures in the docx file

  23. Use a nice little FREE program called PDFill PDF Tools (FREE). It has several great features for PDFs. It can merge PDFs, split PDFs, encrypt/decrypt PDFs. The feature you can use is “convert PDF to images.
    This allows you to save pages in a variety of formats (jpeg, png, tif, gif, BMP, etc. The images are much better resolution than clipping from Adobe Reader and most screen capture tools. You then insert image as a picture and you are done!

  24. Thank you so much! Greatly appreciated

  25. Thank you very much for describing the different methods. As I had the same problem with a table printed on a 52 pages long PDF, I briefly describe the advantages and the disadvantages of applying 2 methods:

    a) Saving the PDF as pictures in Acrobat is a good idea. However, don’t forget to set the margins in Word to zero as you paste the pictures. Even though this method is quick and simple, the file size might significantly increase.
    b) Saving the PDF as Word and then pasting the tables into your target file was the best option in my opinion. As well, don’t forget to set the margins of both files equally before you paste the tables. This method might be more laborious and it takes longer time when converting the final word file to a PDF, however, the file size is much smaller and the tables are stored as vectors. I would go for this solution.

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